Category Archives: TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Joe Ely & Alejandro Escovedo at City Winery, 8/21

Song swapping may be the best way for a couple of esteemed singer/ songwriters to tour. Rather than one opening for the other, sitting on stage together and taking turns playing songs allows the evening to unfold in unexpected ways. One performer is inspired by a line in the other’s song and brings out one with a similar theme; the other, inspired by some intricate finger picking he’s witnessing, tries his own.

That’s how it went for a show by Joe Ely and Alejandro Escovedo Tuesday at the tony new City Winery outlet in the Ivy City district of Washington, DC. Accomplished writers and performers each with deep roots in not only the Austin scene, but connections with punk’s beginnings, the two took advantage of decades of songs and experience to trade off all night. Each had the best seat in the house for the other’s performance and sat rapt and respectful to listen.

Oddly, there were only the slightest collaborations emerging. Ely provided a solo for Escovedo’s “Broken Bottle”; they combined on a version of Ely’s “Silver City” that Escovedo recorded for his upcoming album The Crossing, due out September 14, and combined forces once more for a version of Woody Guthrie’s “Goin’ Down That Dusty Road” (a song also known as “Lonesome Road Blues” that is often cited as “Goin’ Down the Road Feelin’ Bad,” though it never includes those precise words).

More often they were students and deep listeners of the other’s music and, in the case of the DC, show, their respective family histories. Escovedo, 67, began with a song about his family’s travels to California from Texas and Mexico. Ely, 71, followed with his own song of other weary travels between the Golden and Lone Star State, “Homeland Refugee,” a Dust Bowl rumination with the striking line “We’re all just migrants on this earth / Returning to the dust where we came.”

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TVD Live: John Hiatt
& The Goners featuring Sonny Landreth at the Birchmere, 8/20

John Hiatt became eligible for Medicaid Monday, marking his 65th birthday at the first of two sold out shows at The Birchmere music hall in Alexandria, VA. But there was nothing suggesting anything close to retirement in his show with The Goners, the ace Louisiana trio led by guitarist Sonny Landreth.

Indeed, on a night largely dedicated to the 30th anniversary of his 1988 album Slow Turning, Hiatt began the evening showing how much life there still was in him during a succinct seven-song solo set dominated by songs from his impending album The Eclipse Sessions due out October 12.

It’s something like his 24th studio collection and the examples he shared — “Cry to Me,” “All the Way to the River,” and “Aces Up Your Sleeve” (coincidentally also the first three songs on the LP) — are as well structured, simple, and memorable as any from his catalogue, the best of which he also sampled in the solo acoustic spotlight.

He began with “Perfectly Good Guitar,” on a night when Joe Perry was smashing another instrument as part of an Aerosmith collaboration with Post Malone on the MTV Video Music Awards, a world away. Its indelible melody was enhanced not just by a harmonica solo, but also whistling.

He sang “Angel Eyes” by request of a couple marking their 40th anniversary. And he closed with the classic “Crossing Muddy Waters,” which recently had a terrific cover by the female bluegrass trio I’m With Her, and the indelible wail of “Cry of Love.” He acted in this set as if he were the hopeful rising opening act, thanking the headliners for having him on the tour, and adding, “They even let me ride in the main bus.”

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The Best of TVD’s 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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Save the Date: The
DC Record Fair returns
to U Street Music Hall, Sunday 9/16!

Back in its 9th year is Washington, DC’s twice yearly record rummage, The DC Record Fair, which sets up for an almost Fall edition at U Street Music Hall on Sunday, September 16, 2018.

At this event we’ll have 20+ vinyl vendors from DC and up and down the East Coast, the anticipated DJ line up, the bar, the food, raffle items up for grabs just for coming through the door, and much more that make the DC Record Fair a special community event. 

A little while back our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring assembled the above feature that connects all the dots to the day—hit play.

Mark your calendars! 
THE DC RECORD FAIR

Sunday, September 16, 2018 at U Street Music Hall, 1115 U Street, NW, Washington, DC.
11:00–12:00: Early entry $5.00
12:00–5:00: Regular admission $2.00

RSVP and follow via the Facebook invite!

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TVD Live: Felix Cavaliere & Gene Cornish’s Rascals with Carmine Appice at The Birchmere, 8/16

One of the great underrated American bands of the 1960s is The Rascals, purveyors of a soulful brand of East Coast groove that provided a few hits that everybody knows and who forged an expansive, spiritual course before petering out in the ’70s. There have been attempts this century to reunite the original four, primarily by Little Steven Van Zandt, whose efforts also led to a short Broadway stint of reminiscence and rock five years ago, “Once Upon a Dream.”

The dream did not live on; members Eddie Brigati and Dino Danelli went their own ways. But Felix Caviliere, who wrote and sang lead on so many of their songs, has forged on at age 75 with a new iteration of the old band that includes one other original member as well as a renown classic rock drummer who would be seen at first as an odd fit. They played a show at The Birchmere in Alexandria, VA, Thursday.

The cumbersomely named “Felix Cavaliere & Gene Cornish’s Rascals with Special Guest Carmine Appice” was actually a more muscular version of the band that might have otherwise been a pleasant nostalgia excursion. The Brooklyn-raised Appice, still with the black Fu Manchu mustache at 71, was actually influenced by the Rascals just before he started with Long Island rockers Vanilla Fudge. Danelli’s drums were an unsung component of the Rascals, providing exact time and tasteful fills that were integral to the music.

It was the producer Shadow Morton working with the Rascals who produced the four Vanilla Fudge albums. And though Appice went on to play in Cactus, Beck Bogart & Appice, and for people from Ozzy Osbourne to Rod Stewart (cowriting “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” and “Young Turks” along the way), Appice nailed down the solid beats and fills to run the Rascals engine on the current tour.

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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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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:
Arctic Monkeys and
Mini Mansions at the Anthem, 7/29

Capping off their two night stay at The Anthem in DC, British rockers Arctic Monkeys along with their tour-pals Mini Mansions left audiences in awe and still wanting more.

From the moment that frontman Alex Turner took the stage, screams from the crowd ensued. With little pause for introductions, Arctic Monkeys went right to it. Opening their set with “Four Out of Five” and “Arabella”, the pace of the evening was set. “Don’t Sit Down Because I’ve Moved Your Chair” and “Teddy Picker” continued the momentum before they moved onto the tamer “Do Me a Favour” and a beautifully played version of ”Cornerstone.” Moving on to newer tunes like “One Point Perspective” and “American Sports,” the night continued to mix the new with their familiar hits. The ever popular “Do I Wanna Know?” appeared before the encore and inspired a sort of sing along in the venue.

Touring to promote their latest studio album, Arctic Monkeys will play a few remaining dates in the US including Chicago’s Lollapalooza Festival this weekend before moving onto Europe in September. The album, Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino, was released in May 2018. It marks the band’s sixth full length release and is available in both black and a special silver vinyl editions.

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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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The Best of TVD’s
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:
FITNESS and Wild Moccasins at the
Black Cat, 7/15

Los Angeles based FITNESS is an exciting new project featuring music masterminds Max Collins of Eve 6 and Kenny Carkeet, formerly of Awolnation. Veterans of the music industry, Collins and Carkeet have both experienced great commercial success and popularity with their former bands as well as from songwriting for other artists.

The duo have been close friends and writing songs as a team for several years. Two years ago they decided to launch FITNESS, a labor of pure love, and a creative outlet to really write the kind of songs they wanted to write. No rules, no expectations, no bullshit.

I was pleased to catch their set at the Black Cat in Washington, DC over the weekend, and the room was packed. The Black Cat is a legendary punk rock club in the District and a perfect venue to hear the band. It’s always a treat to see such an explosive show in an intimate setting.

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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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TVD Live: Taylor Swift at FedExField, 7/10

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNSDespite the dizzying confluence of torches, fireworks, lights, immense video screens, dancing squads, light-up fan wristbands, and three-story snakes—so many snakes—in Taylor Swift’s big “Reputation” stadium tour, the best moment comes when she’s finally alone with the guitar.

It happens just over halfway in her two hour extravaganza when she’s on a B-stage, having been airlifted there by a light-up gondola while singing “Delicate.” It’s after the giddy heights of “Shake It Off” alongside tour openers Charli XCX and Camila Cabello (as well as another of those giant snakes) all while the fans’ wristband lights involuntarily blink Christmas colors.

Only then is she able to talk more to her fans as if they were old college buddies (“I’ve been thinking of you guys”). At the first of two sold out shows at Maryland’s FedEx Field for what she said was her 24th show in the area, she thanked fans for allowing her to go from teenage country sweetheart to high-volume pop music force. But she returned to her acoustic guitar roots all the same, with a spare version of “So It Goes…” from the new album and something from her Red album a half dozen years back that she hasn’t played for a while, “State of Grace.”

It was the rare moment of surprise and intimacy in a massive show whose every moment is plotted for maximum crowd convulsion. It’s audacious for a show this big to still largely be a vehicle to sell a new album, and playing 12 songs from Reputation (skipping only three of its tracks) meant squishing old favorites into medleys.

It was all fine with the audience of young girls, their indulgent parents, and a few guys, all excited for the big show and some decked out in a kind of Taylor cosplay, which ran from the troubling sight of grade schoolers in fishnets and lipstick to someone in full witch costume to one old guy in what looked to be an exploded newspaper.

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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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TVD Live: The Feelies at the 9:30 Club, 6/22

PHOTO: DOUG SEYMOUR | The fast jangle and hypnotic rhythms of The Feelies is not just a warm throwback to 1980s when their first album ushered in a precise kind of frantic nerd rock, influencing a number of other bands. By now, the band is a standard-bearer for an enduring strain of New York rock. With its droning chords, flighty solos, pounding drums, and deadpan vocals, it’s the closest thing to the Velvet Underground in the 21st Century.

It’s a homage the quintet acknowledged in its splendid and generous return performance at the 9:30 Club Friday night. Two of the four covers in their series of encores were from the Velvets. And the harder rocking selections from their latest material from their 2017 album In Between forge the same heady path, particularly the title song. It was presented, as on the album, in two ways, the original and in an expanded psychedelicized version in the encores. By the end, Glenn Mercer was rubbing his guitar neck against the microphone, which you wouldn’t have expected such a reserved person to do.

Mercer is paired with the similarly bespectacled and overly reserved Bill Million, with Mercer taking on all the lead vocals and most of the lead guitar work, as Million adds the textures of his rhythmic guitar. The two barely spoke to the crowd and could scarcely bring themselves to even look up at them, despite the adoration.

To their left, Brenda Sauter began the show creating tones on guitar on the opening “When Company Comes.” She became a third percussionist late in the show, hitting a standing tom. But mostly she played bass, sang some harmonies, and acted like Earth translator for the rest of the front line, saying thanks from time to time. “You make us feel so welcome,” she said at the outset.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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