Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

Coves, The TVD First Date & Vinyl Giveaway

“I pretty much listen to music almost constantly. Like most people in the city I walk the streets with my headphones in streaming music, I sit at work making playlists on Spotify, and listening to albums people have uploaded to Youtube.”

“The way I look at music formats is similar to how I look at red wine. Often I’ll just want to get drunk, convenience is the key, a box of wine can be drunk anywhere, a bag can be smuggled into events/bars and has more filthy booze than a bottle. If I am at home though, and I have the money, I’ll want to enjoy the wine, enjoy the flavours, and eventually get drunk.

Luckily I was a child when it was fashionable to chuck out your high quality analogue hi-fi separates system and vinyl and buy some tacky Aiwa Hifi and a bunch of CDs. At the age of six I inherited a Technics record player, Technics amplifier, some big old wooden speakers, and a super fine collection of sixties rock ‘n’ roll, soul, prog, psychedelic rock, and was instantly hooked.

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The TVD Interview

When I first listened to Zepparella, I wasn’t sure what to think at. I hadn’t previously given a lot of thought to tribute bands, but I hearing these ladies just crush some Led Zeppelin, I was blown away. I always dug the fact that they weren’t a carbon copy of Zep. They played it close enough to pay tribute, yet put enough of their own flair into it to really stand out.

Currently on a tour of the US, Zepparella had a show coming up at Jammin’ Java, and I was asked if I would interview guitarist Gretchen Menn, and drummer Clementine, the founding member of Zepparella. Their love of Zeppelin’s music goes deeper than your typical horn-throwing rock fanatic, and they are each outstanding musicians in their own right. I jumped at the opportunity, and after sound check was over, I was privileged to sit with Gretchen and Clementine, and among other things, ponder the possibility of a Loverboy tribute band.

What’s the latest with Zepparella?

Gretchen Menn: Well, we are a little more than halfway into this first kind of big, nationwide tour. Busy, playing a lot, driving a lot. Meeting new people. A lot of people have been supporting us for a long time.

Take us back to the beginning. Did it all start as a jam that grew into something bigger, or was the intent to pay homage all along?

Clementine: Gretchen and I were in a band that wasn’t playing as much as we wanted to play. I told her that I had always wanted to learn the catalog of Zeppelin, and she said she had wanted to do that too. We decided that we were going to get together and learn Bonham and Page stuff, and then pretty quickly we said “If we’re gonna do this, we should do it on stage.”

It’s not an easy feat, learning Bonham and Page. You say it very casually, “Oh, we’re just gonna learn some Bonham and Page.”

[Laughs all around] GM: Well, part of it is that we knew if we did it on stage, we’d be a lot more accountable. It’s one thing to get together and jam on stuff, but if you really want to go the distance and really make a study of something, it’s really helpful actually, to have the response of other people and the accountability of other people to make sure you’re really taking it seriously.

C: Plus, to be able to play with not just Page, but to play with John Paul Jones’ parts, and Plant parts too, I understand more fully why Bonham played what he did. What he was supporting, what he was hearing at that moment. It becomes really, kind of a deep musical experience.

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday morning recap of the new tracks received last week—provided here to inform your vinyl purchasing power. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Turning Plates – Falling Lives
The Casket Girls – Secular Love (Strange Majik Remix)
Breach – Jack (Johanssen Remix)
Teddy Geiger – Walking In The Sun (Go Periscope Remix)
The Pharmacy – Strange
Daddy Lion – Perpetual Flower
A Shoreline Dream – The Heart Never Recovered
Lowell – The Bells (dd elle Remix)
VINNIE – We Run Deep Ft. Selina Albright
MOORMONEY – Rareform (Prod. Taz Taylor, Dez Wright)

Emily & The Complexes – You Won’t

Helado Negro – I Krill You
Bad Suns – We Move Like The Ocean (Sebastian Carter Remix)
One Finger Riot – The Sea
Black Lady Soul – The Fall
Split Screens – Stand Alone
TeamMate – Goldmine
The Belle Sounds – The Siren
The Verve Pipe – Overboard
Populous – Brasilia (feat. Giorgio Tuma)
Dive Index – Rewind Your Patience

6 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It’s a warm summer night in the Canyon. It’s late and I’m slightly out of my head. To be honest, I am not really sure what is going on in Malaysia, Gaza, and the Ukraine. All I know is that today I’m very happy to be in the hills of Southern California.

There are no summers like California summers. I seriously hope, indeed pray, we can enjoy this Summer of 2014. Myself, I need the warmth.

This week I continue my trip of putting together “random music” for my playlist. Maybe it’s the “fad” for my summer of 2014. The process of creating a random playlist of songs it subtle—and can even be more time-consuming than many of the themed playlists I often run with.

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Needle Drop: Jay Brown, “Get Your Fill of Feelin’ Hungry”

There is something lovely and unique about writing a song that expresses gratitude for being young, hungry, and at the mercy of the elements. Singer-songwriter Jay Brown feels no shame in looking back at his early years in the great wilderness of Boone, NC where once he survived on little more than black coffee and folk songs.

As he recollects this chapter in his life, Brown seems more wistful than apathetic, providing an authentically nuanced performance for us to listen to comfortably in our air-conditioned cubicles. Backed by his deft finger picking and lilting melodies, Brown needs little more than to romanticize a few of his past experiences under the moon with the wind at his back to make us feel like we’re there with him… and it feels pretty damn good.

Brown’s eleven song LP is a honey-dipped stroll through folk, country, gospel, and other intimate forms of acoustic music. Jay’s voice may conjure up the presence of Willie Nelson, while his subject matter tends to focus on the domestic bliss he has found with his lady and child. It is an overall impressive outing for Brown who seems to be enjoying a solo departure from mainstay group, The Lazybirds.

“Get Your Fill of Feelin’ Hungry” is off Jay’s new album, Beginner Mind which is released October 14th.

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Needle Droppings: Mick Jagger and David Bowie, “Dancing in the Street”

What shouldn’t aging rock stars do when they feel themselves fast approaching the tipping point of total irrelevancy? Simple: make a video of themselves fopping about in an overly fey manner to that hoary old Martha and the Vandellas chestnut, “Dancing in the Street.”

Just about everybody, with the possible exception of G.G. Allin, has taken a stab at it, leading to such a glut of cover takes that a hidden codicil of the 1938 Munich Pact banned future versions of the song. Unfortunately no one thought to inform Mick Jagger or David Bowie of this fact, and the result is one of the most unintentionally hilarious videos in rock history.

It opens with a shot of Mick Jagger’s hideous yellow sneakers bopping up and down, and it’s all downhill from there. The boys are attired awfully—Bowie is wearing, for reasons known only to Bowie, a white lab coat over a camo jumper—and spend the entire video camping it up like two aging queens on methamphetamines, leaping up and down, swapping lines, standing back to back while making “dance like an Egyptian” arm gestures, and singing with their respective rock star lips about an inch apart.

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Graded on a Curve: The Psychedelic Furs, (s/t)

Love a band? Hate a band? It often comes down to simple timing. For instance, had My War been the first music by Black Flag I ever heard, instead of their earlier EPs and singles, I would never have given them the time of day. The same is true for The Psychedelic Furs. I first heard them when they were putting out such catchy and undeniably lovely new wave songs such as “Love My Way,” “Heaven,” and “Pretty in Pink.”

Unfortunately, I disliked new wave, because in the wake of first-generation punk it sounded too wimpy, emasculated, and dance-oriented for my tastes. To paraphrase one David Bowie, “I never got it off on that new wave stuff/How bland/Too many Duran Durans.” Or to quote the great Minutemen, “Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want the Truth?”

But had I heard the Furs around 1980, instead of, say, 1983, things would have been very different. In fact, I’d have loved them. Because 1980 was the year they released their debut LP, the eponymous and post-punk The Psychedelic Furs. Forget their melodic new wave tunes that ended up on film soundtracks and got played at every prom in the land. The Furs’ debut is a fabulous collection of droning grooves over which vocalist Richard Butler talk/sings enigmatically about who knows what to the accompaniment of guitars and one great saxophone. And to think I never heard so much as a song off it until Kid Congo Powers covered the ecstatic “We Love You” at a live show here in DC. Thank you, Kid, for your great tastes in music and your great mustache and for turning me on to The Psychedelic Furs. I owe you big time.

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Meghann Wright,
The TVD First Date
and Debut, “Left My Heart in Brooklyn”

“My love affair with vinyl began somewhere around the age of 5 or 6. In the ‘80s, my parents had a diverse record collection and a state of the art (at the time) sound system. For them, listening to recorded music was serious business. I remember learning to use all of the components: the receiver and the equalizer, how to clean the records, how to set the needle so it would start right at the beginning of a song.”

“I remember even when they got a CD player, I was always more fascinated by the vinyl. Maybe it was because the covers were so big, like I was holding a painting in my little hands. I remember staring at Madonna’s midriff on Like A Prayer, The cool lighting and composition on Bowie’s Let’s Dance, the psychedelic illustration on Sir Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road. I would pour over the lyrics inside as I listened until I had memorized them so I could sing along. That’s how I learned to sing.

During high school, I was very active so portable music was necessary. I never fully broke up with vinyl, I would dub records and CDs onto tapes and make mixes for my friends. I was getting more into the independent underground music of the time, ska and punk from Asian Man and Victory Records, Indie and Hardcore from Revelation and Polyvinyl Records, and stuff like that. Maybe it was cheaper or easier for those bands and labels to put out CDs because that’s what I was usually able to find. It was very rare that I found a vinyl record during the mid-‘90s by one of my (at the time) favorite bands like Braid or Boysetsfire. That could also be because I was in Hawaii.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Flesh Eaters,
A Minute to Pray,
A Second to Die

Any shelf dedicated to classic California punk requires representation by the Flesh Eaters of Chris Desjardins, aka Chris D. Never a bad record has he made under that moniker, but the finest of them remains the talent-drenched and enduringly brilliant 1981 LP A Minute to Pray, a Second to Die. It’s just been given a welcome reissue by Superior Viaduct of San Francisco.

I first learned of Chris D.’s work in the latter portion of the 1980s, my discovery largely aided by the diligent underground music press of the era, in particular the scribbling of Byron Coley. While numerous zines featured reviews of both the Flesh Eaters and Chris D.’s band of the period The Divine Horsemen, it was really Coley that helped to put Desjardins’ art in proper context.

In fact, Coley’s such a determined champion of the man’s work that his new liners for this reissue aren’t an extra so much as a prerequisite. And the insight was found in more than just reviews, articles, and prior sleeve notes, as Coley and Forced Exposure publisher/writer Jimmy Johnson conducted an extensive interview with Desjardins for issue #12 of their reliably hefty “quarterly” mag. The duo also provided space in the back for “Chris D.’s Video Guide,” an enjoyable and extremely enlightening tour of the guy’s VHS collection.

I’d already sized Desjardins up as a major part of the USA’s roots punk brigade, his output landing in the same rough region as The Cramps, X, The Blasters, The Plugz, and The Gun Club, but the conversation in FE presented him as an uncommonly astute member of the punk community (especially when compared with the average Flipside chat).

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Graded on a Curve: Steely Dan,
Pretzel Logic

Steely Dan was Thee Consummate anti-garage band of the seventies. Steely Dan’s Walter Becker and Donald Fagen didn’t just polish their LPs; they buffed, burnished, lacquered, and airbrushed them until they were as perfect as Andy Gibbs’ coif. The Kings of Studio Sheen were perfect examples of what could be done if you were willing to spend 4,000 hours creating LPs as high gloss as a Lamborghini just off the assembly line. They produced the most waxed wax this side of insane perfectionist Tom Scholz of Boston, who has been known to spend a good decade spiffing up an LP before it meets his impossibly exacting standards.

Lots of people hate Steely Dan for this—I myself, a big Dan fan, want nothing to do with anything they released after 1976’s The Royal Scam, because they finally took the whole 50,000 coats of lacquer shtick a bit too far, while also moving towards a smooth jazz/pop fusion that left me cold—but I’ll stand by their earlier LPs to the end. Over the course of four years they released five albums that boasted great melodies, brilliant lyrics, and the best studio musicians money could buy, including guitarists Rick “All-American Boy” Derringer, Elliott “Total Fucking Genius” Randall, and Larry Carlton, which is why you’ll search in vain for a mediocre guitar solo on a Steely Dan record. They had impeccable tastes in ringers.

The Steely Dan story is familiar to most; Becker and Fagen met at ultra-liberal arts Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York (where I once spent a weekend so dissipated that when I left my pal Dan, a Bard student, was pissing blood), formed a band they named after a dildo from William Burroughs’ Naked Lunch, and in 1972 put out debut Can’t Buy a Thrill, which turned them into overnight sensations thanks to its songs “Do It Again” and “Reelin’ in the Years.” (I remember my eighth grade English teacher, a young and pretty flower child type, playing them for the class as examples of the “groovy new poetry” being “dug” by young people).

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