Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Mako Sica/Hamid Drake, Ronda

When jazz meets rock in the form of collaboration, the results are often well-intentioned and admirable but ultimately inessential. This is not the case with Ronda, which finds the expansive Chicago rock trio Mako Sica syncing up with the great percussionist Hamid Drake across four sides of vinyl. While Drake has extensive experience in jazz’s avant-free zone, the music here gravitates toward the gist of Mako Sica’s bag; amid an approach that’s reliably psychedelic, but with sharper than the average musicality, there are wordless vocals, guitar, occasional horns, and beaucoup rhythm. Intensity does build, but it’s with subtlety and gracefulness of interaction. It’s out now in an edition of 500 through Feeding Tube.

Mako Sica have been described as free-rock, but also desert rock, and the latter is a nice entry point into the sound offered on Ronda. Formed in 2007 by multi-instrumentalists Przemyslaw Drazek and Michael Kendrick (both formerly of the band Rope, who issued a couple of albums in the ’00s on Family Vineyard) plus Brent Fuscaldo, they don’t really specialize in freaking, spazzing, or even skronking.

However, they do like to drift and go deep, and can get heavy without underlining it. Through an ample discography including 2009’s Mayday at Strobe, the next year’s Dual Horizon, 2012’s Essence and last year’s Invocation (all LPs augmented by some cassette action and a split 12-inch with Zelienople), they can deftly inhabit established rock modes and make ‘em feel exciting rather than trite. Prior to the recording of the Renewal tape in 2015, Kendrick exited and Chaetan Newell joined, and so the lineup’s been since.

If Mako Sica’s output is plentiful, that’s in rock terms; compared to their partner in Ronda Hamid Drake, it’s tiny. This is standard for jazz, but what’s not so typical is the breadth of Drake’s recorded work both as an ensemble player and leader. Born in Monroe, LA, like Mako Sica, Drake is a resident of Chicago, first hitting record in the groups of the late saxophonist Fred Anderson, though he gets around so much that it might be better to describe him as a citizen of the world.

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TVD Radar: Ace Of Cups’ debut LP in stores 11/9

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The first studio release by the only all-female rock band of the late ‘60s San Francisco scene: Features contributions from Bob Weir (Grateful Dead, Dead & Company), Jorma Kaukonen and Jack Casady (Jefferson Airplane, Hot Tuna), Taj Mahal, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Peter Coyote, and many more.

Ace Of Cups, the beloved all-female rock group from the 1960s San Francisco psychedelic scene, will release their self-titled debut studio album on November 9th via High Moon Records. Produced by Dan Shea (Jennifer Lopez, Mariah Carey, Santana), the record’s twenty-one tracks span fifty years of brilliant songwriting. From 1967 to 1972, Ace Of Cups—Mary Gannon (Bass), Marla Hunt (Organ, Piano), Denise Kaufman (Guitar, Harmonica), Mary Ellen Simpson (Lead Guitar), and Diane Vitalich (Drums)—were at the epicenter of the ‘60s cultural and social revolution.

From the Acid Tests to the protests, from the free concerts in Golden Gate Park to the ballrooms of San Francisco, they shared stages with everyone from The Band to the Grateful Dead. Michael Bloomfield, Jerry Garcia, and Buddy Miles were their fans and the Ace were chosen to open for Jimi Hendrix the week after his groundbreaking performance at The Monterey Pop Festival. When asked by Melody Maker magazine to name his favorite musical discoveries on his U.S. trip, the Ace Of Cups was the first thing he mentioned.

“I heard some groovy sounds last time in the States, like this girl group, Ace Of Cups, who write their own songs and the lead guitarist is hell, really great.”Jimi Hendrix, 1967

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Graded on a Curve:
Close Lobsters, Firestation Towers:
1986-1989

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

The currently active Scottish act Close Lobsters emerged in the guts of the 1980s as one of the earliest signings to Fire Records. Said label is also still in existence and having a boffo 2015, with part of their continued success stemming from due attention to back catalog. To elaborate, Firestation Towers: 1986-1989 is Fire’s expansive assemblage of Close Lobsters’ initial output, matching two full-lengths with a singles collection. Copies of the Record Store Day 3LP remain available and the CD edition is out September 18th.

Close Lobsters formed in 1985 with Andrew Burnett on vocals, Tom Donnelly and Graeme Wilmington on guitars, Andrew’s brother Robert on bass, and Stewart McFayden on drums. The next year they earned a spot on C86, the movement-defining comp issued by the weekly UK periodical New Musical Express.

“Firestation Towers” is the track, a sub-two minute spurt of urgent jangle and slightly lethargic voice landing squarely within the parameters of what constitutes the C86 sound. Quickly signed to Fire, the two sides of their debut ’86 single, “Going to Heaven to see if it Rains” and “Boys and Girls,” possessed a level of energy certain indie pop associates lacked and evidenced substantial writing ability. 1987 was a fertile period. The “Never Seen Before” EP’s title cut sports Postcard-style chime swagger with complementary bouncing bass notes and on 12-inch includes “Firestation Towers” and “Wide Waterways,” the latter a shrewd cover of a song by Peter Perrett’s Velvet Underground-infused pre-Only Ones band England’s Glory.

A deal with Enigma broadened their fan base through US college radio. First album Foxheads Stalk this Land opens with the copious string glisten, lively bass, lithe drumming, and enhancing brogue of “Just Too Bloody Stupid,” while “Sewer Pipe Dream” is vibrantly poppy as the two guitar attack pays dividends. From there, “I Kiss the Flower in Bloom” offers glistening mid-tempo melodicism, its aura contrasting with the torrid echo-laden bottom end and hyperactive riffing of “Pathetique,” a number moderately reminiscent of C86 cohorts The Wedding Present.

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Graded on a Curve:
Alice Coltrane,
Lord of Lords

The resurgence of interest and the increase in esteem for the work of Alice Coltrane is an unambiguously sweet thing, but it’s also not an especially new development, as her reputation’s been on the steady upswing for quite a while now. However, the first-time vinyl reissue of the pianist-organist-harpist-arranger’s 1972 LP Lord of Lords is a recent turn of events, and it sounds better than ever. Featuring bassist Charlie Haden, drummer Ben Riley, and a 25-piece orchestra, the record is the third in a trilogy that established Coltrane as a spiritually questing and musically trailblazing American original. It’s out now through Superior Viaduct.

For decades, the seven albums in a roughly five-year stretch that Alice Coltrane made for the Impulse label were essentially rated (by those with a favorable disposition to her work, anyway) as the crowning achievement of her recording career. Opinions unsurprisingly differed over which of her releases was the strongest, but it was almost certain the array of choices would derive from 1968-’72.

That is, until last year, with the arrival of World Spiritual Classics Volume I: The Ecstatic Music of Alice Coltrane Turiyasangitananda, a collection of recordings she made in the ’80s after leaving the commercial biz and establishing the Sai Anantam Ashram. Initially distributed in small cassette runs to the members of her spiritual community, Luaka Bop’s collection is a revelatory hour of material that while not usurping the primacy of her Impulse period in my personal esteem, does stand head and shoulders with it in terms of quality and sui generis verve.

Such was the fervent response to World Spiritual Classics I that no doubt many disagree and consider it to be Coltrane’s finest work. And who knows, maybe in a year or five I’ll be swayed into concurring with that line of thought. I say this not as a platitude but as a preface to relating how my esteem for Lord of Lords has grown since I evaluated it as worthwhile and occasionally superb but, in the end, a little lesser than 1971’s Universal Consciousness.

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Demand it on Vinyl: Attitudes, Ain’t Love Enough: The Best of Attitudes in stores now

If you stress it, they’ll press it. —Ed.

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Attitudes, one of the most feel-good rock bands growing out of Los Angeles in the 1970s, return to the scene with Ain’t Love Enough: The Best of Attitudes from Dark Horse Records. The digital reissue Best Of album features the timeless classic “Sweet Summer Music” amongst other memorable top picks from their greatest hits. Attitudes, composed of keyboardist David Foster, drummer Jim Keltner, bass guitarist Paul Stallworth, and guitarist/lead singer Danny Kortchmar, met as session musicians while jamming at the hip Studio B at the famed Record Plant in Los Angeles.

Keltner, who was then a 15-year veteran of countless hit records, including those by George Harrison, Carly Simon, John Lennon, and Barbara Streisand, had been asked to start a jam session at the studio by Record Plant co-owner Gary Kellgren. Soon began The Jim Keltner Fan Club Hour – a club of fans and friends that would include the likes of Lennon, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Joe Cocker, Jack Bruce, Stevie Wonder, and plenty more, including guitarist Danny “Kootch” Kortchmar, then known for his session work with James Taylor, Carole King and many others.

Both Kortchmar and Keltner had played on sessions for a short-lived Canadian group called Skylark, featuring a young keyboardist named David Foster—who would go on to produce GRAMMY® Award-winning albums for artists like Chicago, Andrea Bocelli, Michael Bublé and countless others. Following the disbandment of Skylark, Foster began session work around Los Angeles. Impressed with his playing, Keltner invited him to join what became known as the Fan Club jams. “David was a bad mother, man,” says Keltner. “He could play anything. And he was funky—there was nobody funkier than David Foster.” Recalls Foster, “I was just a musician who wanted to play. And you never knew who was going to show up there.”

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Graded on a Curve:
The Dave Clark Five, “Try Too Hard” b/w
“All Night Long”

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

Of all the marquee British Invasion acts, nobody typified the concept of “singles group” more than The Dave Clark Five. Of albums they had many, but the qualities that made them a special and enduring outfit are best served by the two brief sides of a 45. During the mid-‘60s their short-players stormed both the US and UK charts with a frequency that remains impressive, and “Try Too Hard” b/w “All Night Long” from 1966 is one of their finest efforts.

While they are well-remembered today, I also suspect that few people these days would rank the Dave Clark Five as one the tiptop exemplars of the Brit Invasion, and that’s an interesting scenario because during the phenomenon’s initial wave, only The Beatles achieved a higher level of popularity. Contemplating the subject for a bit leads me to a handful of reasons for the lessening of the DC5’s status over time.

Perhaps the biggest factor is that none of the Five’s non-compilations have landed in the rock ‘n’ roll canon. I tend to think that any well-rounded, historically focused record collection is incomplete without the inclusion of Clark and company, and no doubt many others feel the same way. But I also agree with those asserting that in the run of albums they made while extant, nothing represents them better than UK Columbia’s ’66 release of the 14-track The Dave Clark Five’s Greatest Hits.

This is not to infer that the original long-players are negligible. To the contrary, ‘64’s Glad All Over and the following year’s Coast to Coast, both issued in the US by Epic, are quite good.  But starting in the mid-‘70s and continuing until 1993, none of the Dave Clark Five’s music was commercially available in any format, leaving the used bins and the radio dial as the only ways one could access their discography.

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Robert Poss,
The TVD First Date

“I had been reading about this band called The New York Dolls for months in Ellen Willis’ “Rock, etc.” column in my parents’ The New Yorker magazines. There were a few photos, too, as I recall. The band fascinated me, and they seemed to me—then a rabid Rolling Stones fan—to be an updated wild, young, New York City incarnation of that (then) great band.”

“I think I was the first person in Buffalo, NY to buy the LP; I bought it the day it became available. I got the record home, studied the cover—the drag queen thing didn’t impress me all that much, but I liked the art/photo and credits in the field of pink on the back. I’ll never forget putting the LP on the family turntable and the teenage joy I felt when “Personality Crisis” started, blasting me into a new dimension.

The brilliant guitar playing made me smile. (I was a guitarist). It was as if Keith Richard had been transported to planet Anarchy. Those swoops and zooms and achingly poignant bends. And like the guitarists I so admired—Albert King, Mike Bloomfield, Mick Taylor—Thunders had a sound; his sound. I thought: Chuck begat Keith who begat Johnny. It was the birth of a generation of wild, spontaneous primitivism, especially in the context of bloated 1970s self-indulgent guitar rock. Johnny blew it all away. (I didn’t again feel such joy until the Sex Pistols and The Clash and X-Ray Spex blew my mind a few years later.)

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Graded on a Curve:
Sir Douglas Quintet,
Mendocino

Hey ears: Hungry for some delicious Tex-Mex? I recommend you head for lovely San Antonio, where in 1964 the late, great Doug Sahm put together the Sir Douglas Quintet, which proceeded to cook up a heady concoction made out of ingredients from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border.

The band hit a creative peak with 1969’s Mendocino, which may have failed to make much of a dent on the pop charts but stands up just fine as a stellar collection of bravura performances by a band that was bravely creating its own Longhorn brand of what Gram Parsons famously dubbed “Cosmic American Music.”

What set the Sir Douglas Quintet apart from its contemporaries was its range of flavorings; thanks to the farfisa organ of Augie Meyers and the psychedelic-tinged guitar of Sahm, the Quintet could deliver the garage rock goods, but they could also turn on a peso and, by means of Sahm’s fiddle and country croon, sound like they were playing a barn dance. And on LP closer “Oh, Baby, It Just Don’t Matter” they ratchet up the decibels, crank up the guitar, and make like nothing less than a Lone Star State adjunct of Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Mendocino’s two stand-out tracks are both farfisa-fueled; thanks to Meyers the title track is one of the most cheerful salutes to a small city you ever will hear, while “She’s About a Mover” is a stone-cold rave-up, from its crunchy guitar to Meyers’ Vox Continental organ, which Sahm introduces by saying, “Lay it on me Augie.” A jerky-jerky salute to gutbucket rock ’n’ roll served up border style, “She’s About a Mover” is as timeless as they come and the most noteworthy thing to come out of the city on the San Antonio River since the Alamo.

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Taylor Janzen,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever bought was Paramore’s self titled record when it first came out.”

“I was obviously way late to the vinyl game, having grown up half in the CD age and half in the streaming age. But something about owning a huge, physical copy of an album I love, and also the way it sounds in vinyl format has always been something that I’m fascinated by.

I think the record I play the most these days is Andy Shauf’s The Party. It’s already such an incredible album, but being played on vinyl really adds a new level. There’s so many beautiful layers and textures to it.

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Graded on a Curve: Genesis,
Trick of the Tail

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

Well, there goes another theory shot to shit. I always thought Genesis hit the aesthetic skids the moment Peter Gabriel split and drummer Phil “The Anti-Christ” Collins took over on lead vocals, but I’ve been listening to 1976’s Trick of the Tail, the first post-Gabriel LP, and I’m afraid I was sadly mistaken. Trick of the Tail is not a great album but it’s a very good one, packed with well-constructed tunes with lovely melodies that occasionally, but not too often, stray into the prog trap of technical virtuosity purely for virtuosity’s sake.

Peter Gabriel’s departure threw Genesis’ future into question. A Melody Maker writer went so far as to declare Genesis officially dead. But the band committed itself to proving it could make good music without Gabriel, and after a fruitless search for a new lead vocalist Collins, who wanted to turn Genesis into an instrumental act, reluctantly agreed to take on the vocal duties himself. Which in hindsight seems like a no-brainer, as Collins is a virtual vocal doppelganger for Gabriel and the obvious candidate as a replacement.

Album opener “Dance on a Volcano” has muscle and a fetching melody, to say nothing of some powerhouse drumming by Collins, whose exhortations (“Better start doing it right!”) sound convincing. There is some technical showing off for its own sake, especially at the end, but this one is more hard rock than prog, thanks to Steve Hackett’s guitar work and Tony Banks’ synthesizer. “Entangled” is a bit fey for my tastes, a quiet little pretty ditty, but it wins me over with its melody, which is simply lovely. There’s a beautiful synthesizer solo, which doesn’t attempt to mime classical tropes the way your more virulent and dangerous progmeisters would, and I like it for that.

“Squonk” is tres cool, a lumbering but still lovely number about a mystical beast that dissolves into tears when captured. Collins’ vocals are excellent, and the band pounds out the beat, and I love it as much as I do any song by Genesis, including the great “I Know What I Like (In Your Wardrobe).” The title of “Mad Man Moon” leads you to expect a raver, but it’s no such thing. It opens with some too-pretty keyboards, and is too saccharine for words until it climbs and climbs to a climax that is very, very nice. Then there’s a piano-dominated mid-section that sounds like pseudo-classical hokey-pokey to me, and I suffer. Then the song takes off, and it’s all copacetic, at least for a short while. Unfortunately the song soon returns to its beginning, before finally wilting under Banks’ sugary piano.

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TVD Radar: The Death
of Rock: Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton
lost recordings in stores 10/12

VIA PRESS RELEASE | It was 1978 at Sam Phillips Recording Service in Memphis. North Carolinian Peter Holsapple had rolled into town chasing the essence of Big Star. He hooked up with musician/ engineer/ friend-of-Big-Star, Richard Rosebrough after approaching, and being turned down by, Chris Bell, who Holsapple had hoped might be interested in producing him. Together Richard and Peter started laying down tracks during the off hours at the studio.

Chilton, meanwhile, was knee-deep in the making of Like Flies on Sherbert, also being tracked at Phillips. He told Peter, “I heard some of that stuff you’re working on with Richard … and it really sucks.” Alex promised to come by and show Peter “how it’s done.” According to Holsapple, “I caught Alex exiting a world of sweet pop that I was only just trying to enter, and the door hit me on the way in, I guess.” The results? Alex’s tracks definitely line up with the chaos found on Flies, while several of Peter’s songs found homes on The dB’s’ albums (“Bad Reputation” and “We Were Happy There”) and on an album by the Troggs (“The Death of Rock” retooled as “I’m in Control”), so not a loss at all.

What we have in these newly discovered tapes is a fascinating pivot point, with the artists moving past each other, heading in distinctly different directions. Chilton leaned toward punk/ psychobilly as he began playing with Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and produced the Cramps’ debut, Songs the Lord Taught Us, within a few months of these recordings. Holsapple was off to New York to audition for The dB’s and enter the world of “sweet pop.”

The Death of Rock: Peter Holsapple vs. Alex Chilton will be released—40 years after the lost sessions—by Omnivore Recordings, on October 12, 2018.

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Steven Page,
The TVD First Date

“I grew up with parents who loved music, so there were always records playing on our stereo at home.”

“My folks had a record collection that, to a seven-year-old, seemed slightly impenetrable: jazz artists like Joe Williams and Oscar Peterson, folkies like Ian and Sylvia or Buffy Sainte-Marie, or stuff I thought was just plain mushy like Charles Aznavour. Of course, years later I realized the awesomeness of all of these artists and am grateful for being exposed to them at such a young age.

However, looking back, it strikes me that my Dad must have bought in the neighborhood of one rock album per year: Sgt. Pepper, Abbey Road, Hey Jude (aka “The Beatles Again”), Blood, Sweat and Tears, Joni Mitchell’s Clouds, CSNY’s Deja Vu, the Chicago album with the chocolate bar on the cover, Bee Gees’ Main Course, Clapton’s Slowhand, Hotel California, and then the descent into Dad buying only singles, ones like Kansas’ “Dust In the Wind,” because he didn’t much care about getting to know the rest of the album. For which I say thank you, Dad.

Dad loved to sing along to songs on the radio in his clear, high tenor, especially ones that had intricate beats to which he could drum his rings on the steering wheel and dashboard. He’s a great drummer and this rare display of abandon was both thrilling and embarrassingly intimate to my little brother and me in the back seat of our AMC Matador. The most exciting would be when Dad enjoyed a song so much that he’d buy the 45 of it. Like, for example, the double A-side of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” / “We Will Rock You.” That was exciting to have in the house. I liked “We Will Rock You,” Dad liked “We Are The Champions” because of the high anthemic singing. I was seven. He later bought “Another One Bites The Dust” and I played it over and over and over until he told me to stop. I said, “But I thought you liked that song?” to which he replied, “I did.”

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TVD Radar: Elvis Presley: The Searcher DVD and Ltd. Collector’s Edition in stores 10/16

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and the best-selling solo music artist of all time with more than one billion records sold worldwide, Elvis Aaron Presley created a revolutionary new sound that defined a generation and ignited throngs of fans with such hits as “Heartbreak Hotel,” “Hound Dog,” “Jailhouse Rock,” and “Love Me Tender.” He is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century and now fans can get an inside look at a rarely seen side of Elvis—that of a music artist on a life-long search for self-expression when Elvis Presley: The Searcher debuts on DVD and Limited Collector’s Edition October 16 from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment.

From the archives of Graceland and Executive Producer Priscilla Presley, Elvis Presley: The Searcher is a three-hour documentary film presentation that focuses on Elvis Presley, the artist and musician, taking the audience on a comprehensive creative journey from his childhood through the final 1976 Jungle Room recording sessions. Containing never-before-seen footage and music recordings, the film features commentary and interviews from some of the biggest names in music including Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Emmylou Harris, music producer Jon Landau, and Elvis’ guitarist, Scotty Moore, among others.

Also included is the “In Conversation” featurette, a Q&A discussion with Director Thom Zimny, executive producers Priscilla Presley and Jerry Schilling, and Grammy Museum executive director Scott Goldman recorded at the Los Angeles Grammy Museum. And the Limited Collector’s Edition will also feature commemorative packaging and a 20-page digibook featuring rare photos from the Graceland archives.

Directed and produced by Thom Zimny, Elvis Presley: The Searcher is executive produced by Glen Zipper, Priscilla Presley, Jerry Schilling, Andrew Solt, Alan Gasmer and Jamie Salter (chairman and CEO, Authentic Brands Group) with Jon Landau and Kary Antholis serving as producers.

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Graded on a Curve:
Mötley Crüe,
Shout at the Devil

Sound reads from the archives, all summer long.Ed.

Look, I’m gonna be straight with you; no way would I have reviewed this LP by hair metal legends Mötley Crüe if it weren’t for a snippet from a review from musico Robert Christgau in which he gleefully states, “It’s hardly news that this platinum product is utter dogshit even by heavy metal standards.” And who then goes on to mock the song “Ten Seconds to Love,” in which according to Christgau, “Vince Neil actually seems to boast about how fast he can ejaculate.

Vince Neil might have made a decent song about how FAR he can ejaculate—I once read, for instance, about how the late Beat poet Allen Ginsberg once left a friend’s bedroom with cum dripping from the ceiling—but instead he wrote an ode designed to console all of the world’s other premature ejaculators. I suppose we males should all say thanks to itchy-trigger-finger Vince for speaking out on such a taboo issue.

I have never been and will never be a hair metal aficionado—I’m too much of a pointy-headed, anti-populist intellectual—but what really struck me about 1983’s Shout at the Devil is just how far from utter dogshit it is. Sure, there’s some utter dogshit on it, but it also includes some hard rockers that (almost) allow me to ignore the ridiculous outfits, hair spray, and general low IQ of the band’s presentation. But who says a song has to have a high IQ? Sometimes a high IQ is a bad thing. Take Rush. And sometimes a low IQ can be a good thing; case in point Slade, whose utter inability to spell constituted half their charm.

Everybody—even geeks like me—knows the band. Vince Neil handled lead vocals, Mick Mars played lead guitar, Nikki SIxx manned the bass guitar, and the one and only Tommy Lee kept things interesting on drums. And the drama! Neil killed Hanoi Rocks drummer “Razzle” Dingley in a drunk driving accident. Sixx overdosed on heroin several years later and was temporarily declared dead. And his band mates’ behavior was hardly more sober-minded. Drugs, alcohol, women, and fast cars abounded. Why, I’m surprised they weren’t responsible for chopping the drummer for Def Leppard’ arm off with a battle axe. In short, amongst the lethally unruly hair band contingent, they were the worst offenders, which is really saying something.

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Graded on a Curve: Odetta Hartman,
Old Rockhounds
Never Die

Odetta Hartman is a singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist based in New York City, and Old Rockhounds Never Die is her second album. As on her first, she plays all the instruments, with the main threads being guitar, banjo, and fiddle. If this sounds like another release for the ever-growing Americana pile, nix that notion right now, as Hartman’s songs blend the classic and the contemporary as partner and co-producer Jack Inslee infuses the selections with digital environments that are sometimes electronic, often intriguing, and frequently psychedelic. It makes for a strange but highly accessible listen, and it’s out August 10 on vinyl and digital through Northern Spy.

Odetta Hartman’s upbringing in Manhattan’s Lower East Side comes close to the model of raising ‘em right. Northern Spy’s typical engaging promo text mentions “early exposure to community activism, renegade film screenings, poetry readings and trips to CBGB’s.” Along with soaking up punk and hip-hop, there was also a jukebox in the house loaded with her father’s classic soul and Afrobeat records and her Appalachian mother’s old-school country sides.

This bears mentioning not to support the idea that Hartman’s creativity in adulthood was somehow inevitable, but instead to illuminate the planted seed that led to the sheer diversity of ingredients in her bag, components that on paper are likely to instill doubts as to the overall effectiveness of the endeavor, with the disparate combinations destined to register in varying measures forced.

Good thing records aren’t experienced on paper. As on her 2015 full-length 222, the blend of the old-timey and the cutting-edge is striking in it’s unusualness but never incongruent as it ultimately coheres into a rewarding personal approach; it only takes a listen to perceive Hartman’s vision as unmistakable from anyone else’s.

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