Author Archives: Allison Staulcup

TVD DVD Giveaway: John Carney’s Sing Street and a pair of Shure Sound Isolating Earphones

If you’re searching for a sublime way to spend a hot summer evening, the DVD release of Sing Street is a fine solution indeed. Sing Street is “a feel-good, coming of age story written and directed by John Carney (Once, Begin Again) featuring the ultimate soundtrack of the ’80s.” We’ve got a copy of the film on DVD and a pair of Shure Sound Isolating Earphones to award one winner to herald Sing Street’s arrival in stores on Blu-ray, DVD, Digital HD, and On Demand.

Known for his films featuring original compositions, John Carney is once again inspired by his love for music and and all things Ireland to whisk audiences back to 1980s Dublin. From a troubled home, teenager Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo) is looking to fit in at his new high school. When he is taken by the charms of the cool and beautiful Raphina (Lucy Boynton), he attempts to win her affection by offering to put her in his band’s music video. Without actually being a in a band, he has to scramble to make good on his offer. Connor quickly assembles a group and educates himself on all things rock and roll—and romance.

The film’s soundtrack features The Cure, Duran Duran, and The Clash, as well as new, original songs courtesy of Gary Clark from Danny Wilson who gave us the ’80s gem, “Mary’s Prayer.” Care to take this soundtrack on the road? The Shure Sound Isolating Earphones are ideal.

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TVD Premiere: Lavoy, “Smile”

Get ready to move! We’re delighted to premiere the latest single from Spokane, Washington’s Lavoy. “Smile” combines the most upbeat qualities of multiple genres to bring you one summertime dance floor filler.

At its opening, “Smile” throws you back to the ’80s only to bring you around to the present with its modern synth-pop sound, infectious chorus, and dreamy verse. “‘Smile’ is about finding something you thought you’d lost forever,” says lead singer, Tyrell Tompkins, “It’s about that moment when you lock eyes with your best friend or loved one. You know you’re home and you can’t help but smile.”

Originally from a small town in Alaska, Lavoy, is well acquainted with uphill battles. The closest touring city was eight hours away and there’s no sunlight for days in the winter. It’s surprising they created such a sunny, optimistic track from such a dark place. After developing a following in Alaska, the band quit their day jobs, packed up, and moved their families to Washington. It was there that they rehearsed and wrote daily, perfecting their sound. The hard work paid off, as you can hear above.

“Smile” is from Lavoy’s forthcoming EP, produced by Casey Bates (Portugal. The Man, INXS, Pierce The Veil, MxPx) and will be in stores later this year.

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TVD Video Premiere:
The Love Dimension, “Together Again”

“I asked Matt Robeson from White Light Prism if he could make a video that combined surf themes with sacred geometry. What he created for ‘Together Again’ captured all of this and more. I really wanted something that captured that fun summer time feel but also had a spiritual side to it. The video is dizzying, hypnotic, and captivating. You can watch it over and over again and notice something different each time. This is the second video he has done for us. The first was for our song ‘The Lighthouse of Your Mind.’ Great stuff! Looking forward to working on future videos with him.”Jimmy L. Dias

Just in time for the heat of summer, we’re pleased to premiere The Love Dimension’s new video for their track “Together Again.”

The Love Dimension, a psychedelic rock and roll group from San Francisco, take you on a magical surf ride with their smooth vocals and crashing beats. Founded by Jimmy L. Dias—who was training to be a shamanic healer only to find himself called back to music in 2009—The Love Dimension was assembled with a myriad of talented musicians along the way.

“Together Again” has a message of unity is the perfect soundtrack for this scorching summer season. The video delivers the same vibe with its trippy flashes of beaches, bringing to mind the hot sand between your toes, the sun on your shoulders, and the sound of waves crashing around you. Images of silhouetted beach bums gathered on the sand imprint themselves, as twirling geometric shapes take to the forefront. It’s so bright, after watching it you’ll feel like you were staring at the sun.

“Together Again” is taken from The Love Dimension’s latest EP, released just last month, “Freakquency Space Mind Continuum.”

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TVD Live: Rogue Wave
at Thalia Hall, 5/26

Two west coast bands, California’s Rogue Wave and Seattle’s Hey Marseilles, played Chicago’s Thalia Hall this past Thursday—an intimate and vibrant show that turned into a celebration of the city finally getting some summer weather.

When I walked in the venue I was overtaken by the immense sound of Hey Marseilles. I had to take a moment to count all the people and instruments that filled the stage. There were five band members but multiple strings, guitars, and keys waiting to be played. The audience kept close to the stage and couldn’t help but move to the music. I watched two friends high-five to the beat during clap-alongs, just to not disturb the drink in their other hand. Everyone wanted to be a part of the band’s energy. They ended their set with popular songs, “Eyes on You” and “West Coast” off their latest album. Hey Marseilles’ self-titled album released earlier this year is now available on vinyl.

After being away from Chicago for three years, Rogue Wave was certainly ready to be back. A few songs in lead singer, Zach Rogue leaned into the mic and asked the crowd, “Wanna have some fun?” The cheers and claps assured him we were. With six albums under their belt, the band was able to play a wide variety of new and old. Fans were delighted as each song started, earning them a dedication, “This is for the fans that have been with us since the beginning” before “Salesman at the Day of the Parade,” a song from their second album.

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TVD Live: The Kills at the Riviera Theatre, 5/23

If I’m being honest my familiarity with The Kills begins and ends with their album, Midnight Boom. I know this is shameful. Since writing this I have become familiar with their catalogue and I now know what I was missing. So, when attending their concert this past Monday at the Riviera Theatre I wasn’t sure what to expect. Their new album won’t be released until next week, but I listened to the singles and watched the new video, yet still felt uncertain–would this be the same band I fell in love with in 2008? I’m happy to say, yes indeed.

Upon entering the theatre I quickly made my way to the front. After seeing Ben Folds here earlier this month and spending the entire show on my tip-toes, I knew if I didn’t arrive early and move fast I might just catch a light show played to a soundtrack of The Kills. Luckily I got within spitting distance from the stage, planted my feet, and stayed there for the rest of the night.

L.A. Witch opened the show creating a great early vibe. I could feel their music run through me and the rest of the crowd felt the same way, swaying to the rhythm. I thought my heart was going to explode as drummer, Ellie English, ferociously banged out each beat. Every measure provided twists and turns aiding the inability to guess where the song would go next. L.A. Witch’s recent EP, “Drive Your Car” is currently available on 7’’ black vinyl.

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A Special TVD Giveaway: Tom Petty’s Mudcrutch 2 and a U-Turn Audio Orbit Plus Turntable

Fans have waited over half a decade for this release. (And then some.)

Mudcrutch, the band that served as the precursor to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, is releasing their sophomore album entitled 2 this Friday, the follow-up to 2008’s self-titled debut of which Rolling Stone called “a country-rock instant classic.” The new album features seven original songs by Tom Petty and the band.

Formed in Gainesville, Florida in 1970, Mudcrutch broke up after releasing exactly one single. After a number of personnel shifts and the release of 1975’s 7″ “Depot Street,” Mudcrutch’s Tom Petty, Mike Campbell, and Benmont Tench evolved into Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, and the rest as they say is classic rock history.

Apparently however there was some unfinished business. Reuniting with original Mudcrutch members Tom Leadon and Randall Marsh in 2008, Petty, Campbell, and Tench released the aforementioned, self-titled Mudcrutch—lightening (re)captured in a studio.

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TVD Live: Hop Along with Speedy Ortiz at Thalia Hall, 5/19

Hop Along and Speedy Ortiz came through Chicago’s Thalia Hall last Thursday along with Love of Everything.

Bobby Burg (of Joan of Arc, Vacations, and Make Believe) graced his hometown with tunes from his solo project, Love of Everything. With a table of gadgets to provide drumbeats and rhythm along with looping his guitar, Burg, created layers upon layers of sound. The crowd waited in anticipation with every song to watch it all come together. When Burg made the perfect addition with his soft and sweet vocals it seemed to complete the sound in one grand aha moment. Love of Everything’s latest EP, Sooner I Wish, is currently available.

Massachusetts’ Speedy Ortiz kept the show moving with their sing song melodies backed by the intense grunge sound. A few songs in lead singer, Sadie Dupuis, told the crowd “I forgot to turn my shoes on!” and spent the rest of the night hopping to the music in her glowing sneakers. Dupuis’ vocals purred over heavy guitar riffs, but her lyrics showed her fierceness. Lines like “I’m not bossy; I’m the boss” and “I got too many boyfriends to see you tonight” let it be known she was not be messed with.

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TVD Series Premiere: The Broken Dreams Project

The Vinyl District is pleased to premiere the first episode of The Broken Dreams Project, a monthly video series featuring musicians smashing instruments—all for the sake of fostering art. The first video features Chris Smith of Carolinabound discussing the importance of art in his life, performing several songs, and then breaking a guitar that was painted specifically for him by project creator, Jenni O’Shea.

The Broken Dreams project came about when O’Shea was working in education and witnessed arts funding get cut from schools. She saw children simply forget how to be creative and she knew she had to do something. This project serves as a reminder to support the arts in all forms—visual and musical—before they are destroyed literally in front of our eyes.

O’Shea works with her husband, Michael O’Shea who does the video and music production for the series. Michael has a background in music and has worked with many nonprofits in the past. He also had the key idea for the project—smashing instruments.

For Smith’s episode O’Shea painted the Blue Ridge Mountains which hold significance to both artists. O’Shea plans to keep each painting uniquely personal for the featured musician, depicting where their creativity is drawn. She also hopes to paint on many different instruments, not just guitars.

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TVD Live: Ben Folds and yMusic at the Riviera Theatre, 5/13

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | I have seen Ben Folds too many times. I know this because I can see it people’s eyes when I tell them I’ve attended over twenty of Ben Folds’ concerts. Few people have given me a look of approval or expressed signs of jealousy. But in my heart I don’t feel this way. In my heart I know I can never see Mr. Folds enough.

Almost half of my life has been spent seeking out my next Folds concert. I have seen him indoors, outdoors, as Ben Folds Five, with just a piano, with symphonies, and bands. One time it started to rain and he sang a cappella to save his piano from getting wet. I’ve seen him play drums as each piece of the drum set was rapidly brought out to him during his solo. I’ve watched him with ballerinas twirling around him to the magic of his songs. In a gorgeous church he sang the line “I don’t believe in God” as though it was a lovely hymn. One night I saw him at Milwaukee’s Summerfest, the next in a church parking lot in Chicago.

Every one of Ben Folds’ concerts has been special and unique. And that is certainly true for last Friday’s show at Chicago’s Riviera Theatre. This time the something special and unique was yMusic, a classical sextet he’s been on tour with for the past year to promote his latest album, So There.

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TVD Live: Wild Belle
at the Garfield Park Conservatory, 4/22

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | After talking with Natalie Bergman from Wild Belle earlier this month for TVD and getting a preview of their new album Dreamland, I was excited see them perform live. And I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

At a special Earth Day event curated by Land and Sea Dept., Wild Belle played at Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory. The conservatory was a beautiful setting for the band’s upbeat earthy grooves. Visitors were free to roam the campus to view exotic plants and make their way to the stage through the Palm Room filled with an enchanting tropical landscape.

It was breathtaking to explore, especially with the addition of the nighttime lights. Artgroup, Luftwerk’s critically acclaimed art installation, solarise: a sea of all colors, was a main intrigue of the event as everywhere you looked there was something new to behold amongst the greenery. Guests wandered in out of different greenhouses in wonderment as sounds of old school Jamaican songs spun in the distance.

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