TVD Asbury Park

TVD Recommends Wreaths release party at Asbury Lanes, 4/26

I’ve already devoted portions of this space to lament the long, bleak Winter that cascaded over the shore for the last few months, so in the spirit of giving fair time to optimism, I’m here to let you know it kinda-sorta-may be over—the part of the Asbury boardwalk not being renovated has been re-populated with doe-eyed weekenders getting themselves adjusted to being outdoors once more.

Outside the bars and clubs, smokers no longer huddle together for warmth and are even joined by others who want nothing more than to come outdoors for some of that fresh sea air blowing off the Atlantic, and of course, windows are rolled down so passing cars can obnoxiously blast potential Summer anthems into the ether.

For good or ill, Summer on the Jersey Shore approaches.

So, while a band named Wreaths might not (in name anyway) make one think about the sunny promise of Summer, they probably should.

If you’ve been hanging around Asbury Park at all the past year, they’ve been tough to miss—veterans of the Saint, the Stone Pony, and Asbury Lanes where they will be again, this Saturday to celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album on Killing Horse Records.

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TVD New Orleans

Our Jazz Fest Picks
for Day 1

The festival that music freaks have been waiting for all year kicks off at the New Orleans Fairgrounds at 11 AM tomorrow morning. It’s the 45th iteration of event. Here are some tips for getting the most out of opening day.

This year the Jazz Fest celebrates Brazil. The connections between New Orleans and the South American country are numerous. The first Brazilian group to hit the stage is BaianaSystem of Bahia on Congo Square stage at 12:25 PM. Bahia is the state in Brazil which has the most similarities to New Orleans. This group is not a traditional ensemble, though. They delve into hip-hop and reggae while staying true to their African roots.

Grab a bite to eat or something to drink after their set and head over to the intimate Jazz and Heritage stage. There you will find a parading group from Brazil bearing many similarities to our own Carnival traditions. Afoxé Omô Nilê Ogunjá hails from Pernambuco—a state in northeastern Brazil.

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The TVD Storefront

Queensryche’s Michael Wilton and Stryper’s Michael Sweet: The TVD M3 Rock Festival Interview

The frost is gone (well, mostly), the warm weather is coming, and with it comes another season of outdoor music festivals and amphitheater shows. As if wagging a defiant middle finger at the Fireflys and Coachellas, the annual M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD has become the late Spring celebration of the hair metal glory days of the ’80s.

Now in its 6th year, the M3 Rock Festival will feature two days of music on two stages, with artists such as Tesla, Kix, Lita Ford, Night Ranger, Extreme, and Stryper among others.

Earlier this week, we spoke with 3 M3 artists and we had a chance to talk to 2 more M3 artists just this week leading up to M3 on Friday—Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Michael Sweet of Stryper. We got their take on M3, vinyl, and quite a bit more.

What have you been up to lately?

Queensryche has been up to a lot of new developments. We’ve been touring for the last year on a very successful release of the self-titled Queensryche CD. It’s garnered very great reviews all over the world, and we’ve toured n that all over the world and the U.S., and right now we are still continuing that through this year, and going into the studio later this year in between touring to begin the next album.

Give us your thoughts on playing M3 Rockfest.

Well, I have lots of mixed thoughts on M3, but it’s always been a great situation for me, personally. I think with this new rebirth of Queensryche, we will prove to the fans that the high energy Queensryche is back, and we are very grateful for the chance to revisit the M3 festival.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“On this week’s show my ROTW is Soapbox by The Crookes. I’ll be playing three incredible songs from the album!

I’ll also have my #shellshock to share with you! This week’s bouncy and bubbly number is courtesy of Breton—it’s a delicious one! There will be the usual accompaniment of new and emerging music as I spin some of the best new Alt releases.

Love music? Don’t miss it.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Dorothy Ashby,
Hip Harp

The list of jazz harpists might be a short one, but a substantial conversation can be had over the instrument’s use in improvisational terms, and without even uttering the worthy name of Alice Coltrane. To this day Dorothy Ashby’s profile as a jazz harp player remains high, and those in sync with the Soul/Spiritual/Acid jazz genres have long praised her late-‘60s/early-‘70s recordings for the Cadet label. Earlier in her career however, she succeeded in adapting her sizable axe to the far stricter norms of post-bop. Her second LP is 1957’s Hip Harp, and it endures as a highly satisfying, non-gimmicky listen.

Like many jazz musicians, the late Dorothy Ashby was a multi-instrumentalist. Starting out on the piano, she also played saxophone and bass while attending Cass Technical School, where amongst her fellow students was future trumpet great Donald Byrd and the excellent post-bop guitarist Kenny Burrell. The Detroit native only chose the harp as her main tool after graduating from Wayne State University, and in fact her introduction to the city’s jazz scene found her seated not at the harp but directly in front of those 88s.

Ashby’s biography presents her as a whirlwind of activity. Rather than accept the harp as a sideline, she organized free shows with her trio (which included her drummer husband John) and accepted non-prestigious but paying gigs at dances and weddings. Eventually her group toured the country. Furthermore, she worked in the employ of heavyweights Louis Armstrong and Woody Herman.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Pentagram, Satan’s Satyrs, Coke Bust, Unholy Thoughts at American U., 4/19

PHOTOS: CHRIS RUDY |Pentagram should have been…” This statement can be ended a number of ways, but the most common answer from heavy metal fans is “huge.” They were the founders of what became known as “doom metal”—thick, huge, downtuned riffs accompanying grim, dark, subject matter. Pentagram’s name should be in the annals of history next to bands such as Blue Cheer and Black Sabbath as forefathers of heavy metal, but it was not to be.

Plagued over the years by lineup changes and enigmatic singer Bobby Liebling’s battle with addiction and personal demons (a battle that was documented in the 2011 documentary Last Days Here), Pentagram never made it to the limelight and achieved the commercial success of some of their metal contemporaries. They did, however, maintain a strong, loyal fanbase throughout the years.

Now it’s 2014, Liebling is clean, guitarist Victor Griffin has returned to the fold after a year-long hiatus, and they are playing a hometown gig in Washington, DC at….American University? As I looked around the room in the Mary Graydon Center Tavern at American University, I felt like I was at a well-organized DIY show. An open, almost cafeteria-like room, bright white lights in the place of stage lighting, and, much to the chagrin of the primarily older crowd, no alcohol was allowed on the premises.

Talking to bassist Greg Turley before the show, I asked him, “This is not where you’d expect Pentagram to play. How’d this happen?” He gave kudos to the AU Independent Arts Collective, the student-run group who put the show together. “These kids really wanted to make this show happen.” When speaking to one of the student organizers, he was over the moon that this show was happening. Hearing someone who wasn’t even born when the seminal album Relentless was released use words like “legendary,” it couldn’t help but bring a smile to my face.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Sound Bites, a Benefit for D.C. Central Kitchen at the Ronald Reagan Building, 5/4

After a long and abnormally cold winter, Spring has finally arrived. What better way to enjoy the warmer weather than with food, drinks, and good music?

Enter DC’s Sound Bites. The music fest previously hosted at the 9:30 Club has been relocated to the Ronald Reagan Building this year. The event features food and drink samples from over 25 restaurants, a Bar Battle between mixologists and, of course, music. Playing at this year’s Sound Bites are eclectic singer-songwriter Billy Thompson and his band, the eight-piece brass band Black Masala, The Get Down’s Saturday DJ Harry Hotter and band Ingleside Collective.

Sound Bites takes place on Sunday, 5/4, from 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. Event tickets have already been on sale, but if you haven’t purchased tickets yet, we’re giving a pair away!

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TVD Philadelphia

TVD Recommends Chuck Ragan and The White Buffalo at the TLA, 4/23

Chuck Ragan and The White Buffalo team up to help push you over the midweek hump. 

Years and years ago, you would find Chuck Ragan traveling around the country with his band, Hot Water Music. The Gainesville, FL act made a name for themselves with their relentless touring and anthemic songs. Across the country on its other coast, you’d find Jake Smith—an Oregon born, Southern Californian raised in the influential West Coast punk scene. Fast forward to 2014 and the two are now touring together. Tonight they come to South Street for a show at the TLA.

While they have not lost their punk roots, both Chuck Ragan and Jake Smith have ventured past it. For almost a decade now, when Ragan is not singing and playing guitar in Hot Water Music, he’s crafting his own songs as a singer-songwriter. Focusing more on storytelling has allowed Ragan to reveal his emotions within a different creative outlet. His strong sense of traditional Americana has shaped his solo material into honest, straightforward tunes.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The One Way Street, “We All Love Peanut Butter” b/w “Jack The Ripper”

Everybody has her favorite one-hit wonder. Mine is Paul Mauriat and His Orchestra’s “Song Sung Blue.” I cried, no kidding, every single time I heard it as a child. But let’s take it one step further. What about a band that appears from out of nowhere, records only one great 45, and then disappears forever into the mists of obscurity? Such bands are much cooler yet. They make one mysterious visionary statement, and then vanish. Such bands are the D.B. Coopers of rock, leaving us to wonder who they were and where they came from, and where they went. And most of all, what other great tunes might they have had up their sleeves?

At least we don’t have to wonder, as in Cooper’s case, if their chute never opened or they hit a tree or drowned in the Columbia River. But it’s just as agonizing. Is one song all they had in them? Or did they have more, but hit rock’s equivalent of a tree, and break up soon after recording their tantalizing 45?

A while back I wrote an article on The Barons, a D.C. band who in 1966 recorded but one single, “Time and Time Again” b/w the sublime “Now You’re Mine.” The B-side is a classic slice of garage rock, and if The Barons aren’t as obscure as plenty of other one 45 wonders it’s for the simple reason that only several copies of their 45 are known to exist. Each is worth a small fortune—so be on the lookout—thanks in part to the lead guitarist’s mom, who tossed out 100 copies because she grew tired of them taking up needed space in her house.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Rotary Downs at Gasa Gasa, 4/25

Friday night, April 25, is the album release party for the new collection from Rotary Downs, Traces, at Gasa Gasa. Anti Gravity reviewed the new album and said, ….a record that seems poised to take the band to new sonic heights.” Their previous work  has been described as, “a stunning collection of psychedelic art pop,” by NPR and “perfectly New Orleanian” by Filter magazine.

The band actually premiered the first song, “Flowers in Bloom” accompanied by an interesting look at the band members’ vinyl muses right here at TVD three weeks ago.

Inspired by traveling abroad and experiencing the thrill and the isolation of spinning through worlds far from home, Traces journeys down the similar experimental rabbit hole as the band’s previous work, but is musically tighter and sharper than ever before. The tone of the record has a darker element than past records but has an overall warm, unfocused quality of distance—an almost romantic alienation.

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