Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Death at the Black Cat, 9/2

“Are y’all ready for Death?” Such went the call from the opening band, referring to the headliners. That it would come out as such a sobering question of mortality may have been one of the reasons the band named Death never became the stars they might have 40 years ago.

The sound of Death (not to be confused with the ‘80s Orlando metal band with the same uncommercial name) predated the Black Rock Coalition by a decade, but the trio of Detroit brothers conjured up a hard rock sound of bluntness and soul. From the town of MC5 and Iggy and the Stooges, here was a straight ahead band playing the kind of rock Hendrix was hinting at in the Band of Gypsies five years earlier—a Detroit sound quite different from that came from Motown which had only recently fled to Los Angeles. Still, the brothers Hackney—particularly its guitarist David—refused to compromise on the name. Record companies had contracts ready for them if only they’d change it. But they were adamant on keeping the name.

So aside from a couple of local singles that now fetch hundreds of dollars, the band went unknown until Drag City looked them up, acquired the master tapes, and issued an album in 2008 that held up quite well to a new generation. There followed one of those movies about another long-lost act making a comeback, in the tradition of Searching for Sugar Man (about another Detroit active about the same time, Sixto Rodriguez, who was unaware of his legions of fans in South Africa) or the one about the obscure metal band Anvil! The Story of Anvil.

A Band Called Death came out in 2013 and its director is still connected to the band; he introduced the show Saturday at the Black Cat in Washington, DC, an event significant enough to give the film a new, upbeat ending.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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The Fall 2016 DC Record Fair in Photos

“When the nation was deeply divided by segregation, The Howard Theatre provided a place where color barriers blurred and music unified. Dubbed the “Theatre for The People” by The Washington Bee, it was the place where dignitaries like President Franklin D. Roosevelt gathered with everyday folks to see both superstars and rising stars – many of whom debuted at The Howard Theatre.

Along with Duke Ellington, greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway and Nat King Cole graced the Howard stage and made way for talents like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gilespie, The Supremes, Otis Redding, Lena Horne and James Brown.”

Hundreds of you filled the Howard Theatre on Sunday for the Fall edition of the DC Record Fair, and it was quite the honor indeed to be on stage (literally) at the historic venue. TVD’s Richie Downs was on hand to capture the day for us in photos.

And while we’re at it—mark your calendars! The DC Record Fair returns on January 29, 2017 to Penn Social.  —Ed.

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TVD Live: Brian Wilson at the Music Center at Strathmore, 9/20

PHOTOS: ERICA BRUCE | Not exactly a smash when it was first released a half century ago, Pet Sounds has since been heralded as one of rock music’s crowning achievements—a big turn for a band known for simple surf songs that opened the door for all kinds of mad studio experimentations, orchestral collaborations, and unusual sound effects that would help define the psychedelic ’60s, and continue to some degree today.

More than that, its odd instrumentation and time signatures were in service of some of the most nakedly vulnerable lyrics in pop—a wrenching examination of growing up and losing love, a sadness and loss that also was reflected in the genius at the helm, Brian Wilson whose bandmates in The Beach Boys seemed at first to only be humoring him in his leaps of musical boldness. Pet Sounds today is pop excellence, a chamber classic, deserving to be played by orchestras worldwide into its second half century. So why was Wilson pretty much apologizing for it during his concert billed as his final tour for the work?

The Music Hall at Strathmore in Bethesda Tuesday was sold out for weeks by fans jumping on the chance to hear Pet Sounds recreated so well by the large and enthusiastic band surrounding Wilson. There was no need for the affable bandleader, now 74, to preface the full performance of the 1966 album with the qualifier “Now we’re going to do something very musical” and “very moving and emotional.” “Pleasant music,” he called it, but he warned, “not rock ’n’ roll.” When it was over, he promised, “then we’ll rock ’n’ roll for 20 minutes.” As if he had to convince people to stay.

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TODAY! The DC Record Fair comes to the historic Howard Theatre, 9/25

You know the feeling—every so often you’re rummaging through a record crate and lo and behold—you stumble across a true gem. Well, for the Autumn edition of the DC Record Fair we happen to be hosted by a true gem, the iconic and historic Howard Theatre.

Quoting from their website, “When the nation was deeply divided by segregation, The Howard Theatre provided a place where color barriers blurred and music unified. Dubbed the “Theatre for The People” by The Washington Bee, it was the place where dignitaries like President Franklin D. Roosevelt gathered with everyday folks to see both superstars and rising stars – many of whom debuted at The Howard Theatre. Along with Duke Ellington, greats such as Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holliday, Cab Calloway and Nat King Cole graced the Howard stage and made way for talents like Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, Dizzy Gilespie, The Supremes, Otis Redding, Lena Horne and James Brown.”

On September 25 we’ll have 38 vinyl vendors from up and down the East Coast, the stellar DJ line up (to be announced soon), the food, the bar, Zeke’s Coffee is back with their bold brew, PBR specials, plus the myriad other surprises (and gems!) that make the DC Record Fair a special DC community event.

THE FALL 2016 DJ LINE UP:
11:00 – 12:00: Teddy Garcia (ES)
12:00 – 1:00: DJ Mad Squirrel (DC)
1:00 – 2:00: DJ Test Patterns (NY)
2:00 – 3:00: DJ Aisha Karimah (DC)
3:00 – 4:00: Sheldon Scott (DC Ministry of Culture)
4:00 – 5:00: Sean Lovelace (RVA)

Mark your calendars! 
THE DC RECORD FAIR

Sunday, September 25, 2016 at The Howard Theatre
620 T Street NW, Washington, DC

11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $10.00
12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $5.00
RSVP at the Facebook invite!

The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and TVD.

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TVD Live Shots: Built To Spill, Hop Along, Alex G at the 9:30 Club, 9/18

Sunday night the 9:30 Club played host to the Boise based, indie-rock outfit, Built to Spill whose pioneering sounds and style attracted DC fans who packed venue. 

For the performance, Built to Spill took a minimalist approach to their stage setup making colossal use of just two small guitar stations for both singer/guitarist Doug Martsch and bassist Jason Albertini while drummer Steve Gere was set up far stage left. Simply spare lighting and no frills—just the music.

As pared down as their production was for Sunday night’s performance, the band has a large presence. Known for their catchy guitar rhythms and clever songwriting, it was incredibly satisfying to see an act just deliver their material to an eager audience. Touring to promote their eighth studio album, Untethered Moon (Warner Brothers) which was released on Record Store Day in 2015, Built to Spill will be touring the US extensively through November.

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

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TVD Live Shots: AC/DC and Tyler Bryant &
the Shakedown at the Verizon Center, 9/17

For the DC stop on their current “Rock or Bust” tour, legendary rockers AC/DC made the Verizon Center their home Saturday night with a fast paced set for a packed arena.

When AC/DC comes to town, they really go all the way. For DC’s largest indoor music venue, the band brought an ungodly amount of stage production that included a literal wall of Marshall amp cabinets, an enormous catwalk that split the floor of the stadium in half, enough lights and fog for ten more arena tours, and a giant set of Angus Young’s trademark devil horns that towered over the stage in a half circle of steel.

The most noticeable component to AC/DC’s current tour configuration is that vocal duties have been handed to Axl Rose of the infamous, hard-rocking Los Angeles outfit, Guns N’ Roses. Rose has essentially replaced the band’s long-time singer, Brian Johnson, for their current tour. Johnson, who is AC/DC’s third singer, took over vocal duties in 1980 and is not participating in this tour due to issues with his hearing.

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TVD Live: Culture Club at the Music Center at Strathmore, 9/11

It was the end of a four-month tour, but Culture Club hardly looked worn out in their final U.S. show Sunday at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, MD. Boy George, now 55, looked relaxed and was chatty for the show, wearing a kind of herringbone costume (waistcoat, zoot suit pants, top hat, cane—all in the same pattern) that he ended up changing twice to similarly patterned outfits in red and green.

And the music, of course, sounded good. The original band of George, with Roy Hay on guitar and keyboards, Mikey Craig on bass, and Jon Moss on drums celebrating his 59th birthday, were augmented by nine other musicians and singers. With a three-man horn section and a trio of belting backup singers, they were bigger than the E Street Band up there.

With no new album to promote, the deck was clear for a lot of the old stuff from more than 30 years back. And if it all sounded fresh and bouncy, it’s because Culture Club for whatever reason never got overplayed, either in its time or as oldies. Indeed, if Boy George was the first obviously gay frontman in rock, then he was also the recipient of its first backlash. Rock stations used to prove their manhood by printing up “No Culture Club” buttons with a red “No” sign over George’s face.

If he fits more easily in a slightly loosened up culture, the music certainly does and with the enhanced backing, the songs from their 1982 Kissing to Be Clever and particularly Colour by Numbers held up very well. From the latter alone, they played six memorable songs. Among them, “Church of the Poison Mind,” “It’s A Miracle,” “Black Money,” “Miss Me Blind,” and the encore song, “Karma Chameleon.”

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Play Something Good with John Foster

The Vinyl District’s Play Something Good is a weekly radio show broadcast from Washington, DC.

Featuring a mix of songs from today to the 00s/90s/80s/70s/60s and giving you liberal doses of indie, psych, dub, post punk, americana, shoegaze, and a few genres we haven’t even thought up clever names for just yet. The only rule is that the music has to be good. Pretty simple.

Hosted by John Foster, world-renowned designer and author (and occasional record label A+R man), don’t be surprised to hear quick excursions and interviews on album packaging, food, books, and general nonsense about the music industry, as he gets you from Jamie xx to Liquid Liquid and from Courtney Barnett to The Replacements. The only thing you can be sure of is that he will never ever play Mac DeMarco. Never. Ever.

Read More »

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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