The TVD Storefront

TVD Ticket Giveaway: The Shindig Music Festival at Carroll Park, Baltimore, 9/27

KIM CLASSEN FOR TVD | Baltimore’s one and only rock ‘n’ roll music festival, The Shindig Festival is scheduled for this Saturday, September 27 and we’ve got tickets for you and a friend to check it out. Alt-rock legends Jane’s Addiction (performing their classic LP Nothing’s Shocking in its entirety), and punk rock favorites Rise Against will be headlining this daylong rock festival in the heart of Charm City’s Historic Pigtown.

But wait, it gets better! This year’s lineup also includes Gogol Bordello, Clutch, Fishbone, Halestorm, Lucero, J Roddy Walston & The Business, Larry and His Flask, The Mahones, The Bots, Charm City Devils and Bad Seed Rising. Plus, Shindig’s bringing you all of this on two main stages with NO OVERLAPPING SETS of music. I’m already sold! How about you?

“I was born and raised in Baltimore and creating a festival and vibe we’ve never seen was my goal,” says The Shindig Festival’s curator, longtime Maryland independent concert promoter, Paul Manna at 24-7 Entertainment. “As a fan of every artist playing, I just know that thousands of live music lovers will truly appreciate this lineup as much as I do. Seeing Perry Farrell and Jane’s Addiction, one of my all-time favorite bands, perform in Pigtown will certainly be the icing on the cake.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Kid Congo Powers and the Pink Monkey Birds at Comet Ping Pong, 9/20

I have a rudimentary understanding of the science behind how creative genius works, and it goes something like this; an idea in the brain gestates very slowly into a pebble-sized tumor, which is then expelled via the left ear into the world as a full-blown work of art. I know this to be true, because I’ve seen it with my own eyes in the case of the legendary Kid Congo Powers, the musical legend who has played, or collaborated with, seemingly every cool band of the post-punk era.

Powers’ musical resume is as confusing as it is impressive: he co-founded The Gun Club with the late Jeffrey Lee Pierce, left to join the Cramps, then returned to The Gun Club before quitting to join Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, then returned to The Gun Club while still playing with The Bad Seeds—and you get the idea. But what really makes Powers so fascinating is this: he spent years wandering the earth to and fro, endlessly searching for the perfect sound in this great band or that, when that perfect sound was with him the whole time, inside his head.

Since taking over as a frontman of his own band, Kid Congo and the Pink Monkey Birds—a nice nod, the band name, from a one-time glam kid and habitué of Rodney Bingenheimer’s English Disco to the one and only Ziggy Stardust—Powers has demonstrated his formidable skills as a songwriter, guitarist, and vocalist over the course of the four excellent LPs the quartet (Powers, Kiki Solis on bass, Ron Miller on drums, and Mark Cisneros on guitar and keyboards) has recorded since 2006.

And the band just keeps getting better; their most recent release, 2013’s Haunted Head, is their coolest yet. Its fetching fusion of spooky swampy hoodoo garage (that’s right, there’s a swamp in your garage! Complete with Spanish moss and cottonmouths! And even a stray gator or two! I wouldn’t go in there if I were you!), psychedelia, southern soul, and cool 1960s Chicano Rock will leave you wanting to drop acid, cruise East LA’s Whittier Boulevard with Thee Midniters on the radio in a low rider with a makeshift shrine to Santa Muerte on the front dash, and just plain dance, dance, dance, dance, dance. And I say do it! Do it all! You only live once, although with Santa Muerte on your side, who knows?

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TVD Dallas

TVD Video Premiere: Edward Hartline at Sofar Sounds,
“She Loves Me Not”

Edward Hartline is pretty extraordinary. The self-taught musician spins lyrics and weaves melodies that’ll quiet a crowded room, claims skill in at least five different instruments, and wields a voice that‘ll sing some gnarly goose bumps across your arms. Even more extraordinary? He’s 18 years old.

Last month, we saw Hartline play an acoustic set at Sofar Sounds’ intimate Dallas show, and were blown away by the singer-songwriter’s raw talent, fearless honesty, and maturity beyond his years.

We’re pleased to be able to debut Hartline’s performance at Sofar DFW, before the video’s official premiere tomorrow. See a sample from his set above, read our full review of this month’s Sofar DFW event, and be sure to keep Hartline on your indie radar.

Edward Hartline Official | Facebook | Twitter

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Felix Champion,
The TVD First Date

“My relationship with vinyl records started at a young age. As a wee guy I can vividly remember hearing the sounds of my dad’s recording being played when visitors were around or listening to Dixieland jazz records with my grandad. Listening to records with them wasn’t like listening to CDs. It was more bonding.”

“My parents listened to the likes of Peter Gabriel, Duran Duran, Fleetwood Mac, and Genesis when I was young. It might strike you as a bit odd, playing in a heavy post hardcore band, but these songs have stayed with me. I’ve still got the records and there is an incredible nostalgia to them.

My own relationship with vinyl started at university. I got my granddad’s portable Alba deck from the fifties. The sound of that unit was amazing. The first records I had of my own were drastic departures from the vinyl given to me by my family. I began spending any spare money I had on records. The enjoyment of searching shops was second to none. Trolling through the shops I found all my favourite bands, Fugazi, Mogwai, Slayer, Dillinger Escape Plan, and Converge records. I also took chances—picked up records by Daughter and Bon Iver, which are beautiful records.

The personal connection to a record is so much more important than other platforms. Like most people in their early 20s, I’ve got an iPod going with me everywhere, but when I really want to listen to music and really immerse myself in it, I’ll listen to my records.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Big Star’s #1 Record
and Third performed live at the Wilshire Ebell Theatre, 9/27

Every now and again we find ourselves in the audience at an event so special and unique that the experience easily defies the normal concert going affair. Such was the case last month as we took in Big Star’s #1 Record and Third performed in their entirety at Washington, DC’s premier venue, the 9:30 Club. As we wrote back in August:

Once a decade or eon or so, an LP comes along that is simply too tortured and nakedly honest for human ears. 1978’s twisted and raw Third/Sister Lovers is such an LP. The final offspring of the seventies’ incarnation of Memphis, Tennessee power pop band Big Star—which never dented the charts during its lifetime but has achieved cult superstardom in the years since—Third is anything but a catchy power pop record.

As such, Third is every bit as nakedly powerful a work of art as Jack Kerouac’s Big Sur, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Crack Up,” or heroin- and booze-ravaged Charlie Parker’s tortured 1946 Dial Records take on “Lover Man,” which he couldn’t even stand on his own to record and which was followed by a long “vacation” in California’s Camarillo State Mental Hospital.

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The TVD Storefront

Col. J.D. Wilkes of
the Legendary Shack Shakers, The TVD Interview

The term “renaissance man” is one that isn’t utilized a whole lot these days. In the case of Colonel J.D. Wilkes, the term fits like a glove. A bonafide Kentucky Colonel, Wilkes has been the enigmatic frontman for the Legendary Shack Shakers, a high-energy amalgam of blues, gypsy, twang, and just about anything else that they can fit in, for going on twenty years now. More recently, he partnered up with his wife Jessica in the Dirt Daubers, a more back-to-basics blues and rockabilly unit.

These two bands that Wilkes is most well-known for only scratch the surface of the man himself. Artist. Author. Musician. Filmmaker. He is doing it all in the name of preserving artistic elements of the South and keeping musical traditions alive and well. This is a man who is deeply proud of where he is from, and rather than yell “Yeehaw!” and rant about the War of Northern Aggression, he demonstrates the rich beauty and time-honored heritage of the unsung musicians who helped shape country and bluegrass music of today. Wilkes was a pleasure to speak with, and he could barely contain his passion for the music that is in his heart and soul.

How did the Shack Shakers decide to start back up again?

Well, our drummer had some heart issues that he got squared away. He got a pacemaker put in. I think it just came down to, the material was there, the desire was there, the health was there…the financial need was there. It was just a lot of things coming together at the same time, all those elements coming together. There’s also been offers for festivals and things. Europe’s come’a callin’. The demand is there. Timing, supply and demand, that’s what it’s all about. It’s a band, it’s a brand, it’s a product, and sometimes you have to go away before people can appreciate you.

Oh, yeah. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and all of that.

That is exactly right.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Debby Schwartz,
A Garden of My Own

Debby Schwartz is properly appraised as a veteran musician, a singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist combining broader than usual range with a fairly low profile. As part of the small but potent roster of the NYC/Connecticut-based Twin Lakes Records that might change; her new LP A Garden of My Own offers 11 strong selections in a contemporary electric folk vein.

I was familiar with the output of Debby Schwartz long before recognizing her by name, having crossed paths with her band The Aquanettas roughly a quarter century ago. Flaunting a handle reminiscent of the B-52s, their first and sole full-length Love with a Proper Stranger sported a sound comparable to the Bangles if they’d been from Hoboken and didn’t hit the big time; appearing in early 1990, it was a thorough byproduct of the decade prior.

As issued by Nettwerk/I.R.S. Records the disc never found an appropriate audience. My exposure to The Aquanettas came through a casual acquaintance rather than a personal copy, and after giving it a fresh spin via the resources of the internet I’m bluntly kinda bummed I didn’t pick it up, though I don’t recall ever seeing it in the racks back then.

If I never stumbled across Love with a Proper Stranger, until very recently I didn’t even know Schwartz’s Wrongs of Passage existed. Released in ’98 on Joan Osborne’s Womanly Hips label, it seems to have fallen through the cracks, and I still haven’t heard it. I do know her bass and vocal work in Patrick Gubler’s post-Tower Recordings outfit P.G. Six however; it sets the table for A Garden of My Own quite nicely.

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TVD San Francisco

TVD Live: Sam Smith
at the House of Blues Boston, 9/15

Photographed by Jason Miller-1-2

While Sam Smith might not sing and write the type of music I usually cover here at TVD, I am making an exception for an exceptional talent. I was fortunate enough to catch Smith during a recent trip to Boston where he kicked off his US tour. This UK crooner is quite close to being the hottest ticket on the planet as he has quickly gone from buzzworthy crossover artist to full-on global superstar.

For those who somehow don’t know this phenomenon, Sam Smith is a soul singer/songwriter who rose to fame two years ago when he was featured on Disclosure’s breakthrough single “Latch.” Earlier this year his debut album, In the Lonely Hour was released and has so far moved over two million units. That is unheard of in this day and age of streaming and single downloads.

Photographed by Jason Miller-2

Smith wears his influences on his sleeve often recalling Whitney Houston and Amy Winehouse, but I would say he’s much closer to a male version of Adele with a touch of classic, hipster soul. Smith took to the stage at the sold out House of Blues in Boston walking into an array of brilliant white lights. The look on his face was a mix of confidence and appreciation—confident that he was truly coming into his own and appreciative for the crowd who would hang on every single note from that point forward.

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TVD Asbury Park

TVD’s Garden State Sound with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot of offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history that many people remain unaware of. Everyone knows about Springsteen and Sinatra, but there’s more out there too, including a diverse current music scene.

Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore music with connections to New Jersey. You will hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.

Garden State Sound is hosted by longtime NJ radio personality and musician Evan Toth on WFDU.FM.

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TVD Dallas

Beat Connection: Letting go, moving forward, and swinging for the fences

When it comes to sweet beats ‘n good vibes, Beat Connection does the damn thing.

It’s impossible to listen to “Another Go Round,” the Seattle-based trio’s latest sonic gem, without busting a sporadic dance move or two. Spiked with the cross-cultural sounds of sitar strings, hand drums, and tropical-meets-nu-disco grooves, the jam is both feverish funk and new wave electro-pop. It’s like fruity rum punch, but with a secret dose of tequila—breezy and tasty and seemingly harmless, but by the end of the night, bound to put a dangerous bounce in your booty.

Beat Connection debuted “Another Go Round” via Stereogum last week, the second new single previewing the group’s forthcoming LP. Since premiering their glittery, delightful first full-length album, The Palace Garden, back in 2012, the BC guys have been performing gigs around the country, and working on new stuff here and there. But now, with two dazzling new singles, a promising sophomore record on the rise, and plans to perform on major stages like this year’s Austin City Limits Music Festival, big things are soon to be happening.

We spoke with producer and founding member Reed Juenger about their latest single, the upcoming record, and impending ACL debut. Beat Connection is growing up, paying rent, and straight up bringing the heat.

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