Category Archives: The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Pink Fairies,
Finland Freakout 1971

The Pink Fairies made one of the most monstrous rackets in human history. Theirs was a sound more barbaric than the Battle for Stalingrad, more hammering than 40,000 jackhammers going at once, and fuzzier than my Aunt Edna’s chin. Drummer Russell Hunter made as big a thumping noise as the giant crushing machine—run by a grotesquely fat man named Tiny—back at the Littlestown Foundry, guitarist Paul Rudolph played all fuzz and nothing but the fuzz, and Duncan Sanderson once nearly swamped the tiny Principality of Liechtenstein (which is double-landlocked) by creating a tidal wave with his brutal booming boot-stomp of a bass.

In short, Ladbroke Grove’s finest were fucking fantastic, mayhem-makers and the kind of fun-loving Radico-Freeks who promoted anarchy, drugs, and free music for all. And who played songs with titles like “Uncle Harry’s Last Freakout” that went on forever, frazzling your eardrums and shivering your timbers with their feral, in-your-face druggy din. If you live for fuzz and feedback the way I do, The Pink Fairies are Mecca, because they didn’t make them part of their musical palate—they were the band’s entire musical palate. Making a big freaky-deaky hullaballoo was all the Pink Fairies knew how to do.

For the reasons cited above you will rarely find an album with a more appropriate title than Finland Freakout 1971. Recorded at the Ruisrock Festival in Turku, Finland—which, as we all learned in elementary school, was the site of the Åbo Bloodbath in the aftermath of the War against Sigismund—this was a typical Pink Fairies show, only FASTER, because pre-gig a Canned Heat roadie turned the Fairies onto enough speed to keep a kindergarten class wide awake and drawing perfect crayon circles within circles within circles for a full year.

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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.

Love Echo – Hope
Kavinsky feat. Lovefoxxx – Nightcall (MYNGA Remix)
Frances England – Fall Out Of The Sky
Futurecop! – Lost Love (feat. DWNTWN)
Swans – A Little God In My Hands
Trummors – Bogus Bruce
La Sera – Running Wild
The/Das – Parallel Worlds
We Are The Brave – Sparrow (Alcala Remix)
Cajita – Shake

Smoke Fairies – Shadow Inversions

1,2,3 – Porch Swing Song
DZ Deathrays – Gina Works At Hearts
Armand Margjeka – Hummingbird
ETCHES – David
Cocktails – Tough Love
The 1975 – Settle Down (EMBRZ Remix)
Duologue – Memex
The Aston Shuffle – Tear it Down (GAMPER & DADONI Remix)
New York Trouble ‎– Light Stakeout Part 2
Orangatang – Fog Swimming

6 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings From Rancho Mirage!

What’s the Idelic Hour without an episode dedicated to Coachella? In the past I would’ve argued the two are spiritual cousins. Having come close to convincing festival organizers to officially sponsor my annual “Parents Guide to Coachella,” I do feel a connection to the community of people who’ve grown this cool concept into an annual tradition, all in the name of fun and cool music.

The very word Coachella conveys great memories—playing the main stage, melting guitar pick in hand. Friends, warm winds, stoney sunsets. Rick Van Satan’s stash of junk food. Love to Paul & Skip, Rachel & PJ “good looking out.” To all my friends at Goldenvoice, props.

Well, here I am in the desert once again ready to rock. Question is, who is with me? Would it be grandiose or is it crazy to imply The Idelic Hour and Coachella are growing apart? Has “the media” changed our festival or I am just getting old? Likely a bit of both. Things in the desert can get messy…

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Needle Drop: Horse Thief, “Little Dust”

Texas-born, Oklahoma-based Horse Thief plays a panoramic blend of rootsy, folk rock that evokes the wide-open spaces of America’s Midwest. “Little Dust,” the latest single from their forthcoming Bella Union debut Fear In Bliss allows the band to exercise the demons brought about by the lead singers’ bouts with anxiety and depression.

The track has a looseness to it which allows for the gloomy depictions of drug abuse and chasing the dragon to feel as breezy as a desert wind. Gorgeous guitar lines soaked in golden cello tremolo sneak along with the pounding drums and aching vocals while the lyrics detail the narrators’ devilish hallucinations.

The use of atmospheric instrumentation and the emotive presence of the vocals makes Horse Thief stand out amongst the throngs of freak-folk rockers attempting a similar sound. Producer Thom Monahan (Devendra Banhart, Vetiver) helped the band fuse their renowned stage performance with the studio quality he is known for. That is not to say the recordings aren’t wonderfully rough around the edges. “Little Dust” proves in the first few minutes that there’s nothing streamlined about truly feeling alive, and point of fact, the rawer the better.

Fear In Bliss favorably positions the band as a love child of Flaming Lips and The Beachwood Sparks and should appeal to fans of both. That is to say, if you like your freakiness to go down nice and smooth, this one’s for you.

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Life is strange: The Casket Girls join us
at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS Ever feel out of the loop? (I know, us too.) Yes, it seems there’s something going down at record stores tomorrow, April 19, but nobody tells us a damn thing. It’s weird. But I tell you what, we hate crowds. And lines.

Know who hates crowds too? Savannah, GA’s The Casket Girls, that’s who. The lovely women of spooky shadows with an eerily catchy soundtrack to match made their way through Washington, DC recently, and with a chill in the air and ice on the stilettos, wound their way down the stairs of DC’s Som Records to join us for a hang. And a record rummage.

“My sister and I grew up in a large, dusty clutter of hallways and staircases. Playground and prison just the same, we didn’t leave the grounds much. When you live in the middle of nowhere, nowhere is your destination and your return.”

“We seemed to evade any vague adult supervision that might have made faint gestures towards securing some sense of order in our lives, and were left thoroughly content wandering about the self-made tunnels and bridges of our mind’s eye. Hoping to connect with the other worldly—in search of something more.

We were scared of the attic. We were told it was dangerous, and never to lower the ladder. Though for years we abided, we knew that one day the bravery would rise in our chests, tiny hearts pounding, breath controlled, my sister shushing me with only her glance: the ladder would be lowered. And as we believed in destiny from a very young age, we felt we had no choice in matters, we were only following our hearts up the seemingly loudest steps we had ever walked in our lives, as our aunt made tea in the kitchen below.

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Graded on a Curve: Humble Pie & Nazareth, Winning Combinations

What manner of musical monster is this? Two bands—on the same LP? Lunacy! Stark raving madness! Why, it reminds of the bootleg 99-cent LPs I used to see in the cutout bins of Woolworths as a teen. You’d be transfixed by a title like Jimi Hendrix Meets Brian Auger, but if you were foolish enough to buy it you soon discovered that Hendrix was MIA and the LP included nothing but dismal D-grade outtakes by Auger. And come to the reluctant conclusion that if the two did actually meet, it was at a party at Mama Cass Elliott’s flat in Mayfair.

Overwhelmed by nostalgia, I had to check this one out. And I’ll be damned if it isn’t indeed a winning combination, the reasons being twofold: (1) Humble Pie and Nazareth aren’t so terribly far apart, sound-wise, that the combo is ridiculous, and (2) while I half-expected the LP to contain losers and obscurities, it turns out that—and I don’t mean this to sound cold—both bands each recorded maybe five great songs, and they’re all on this LP. So it’s like getting two greatest hits packages in one!

I know that Humble Pie fanatics (total number: 17) and Nazareth nuts (total number: 17) alike will keen at my saying each band only put out five great songs. And it’s true; I’m exaggerating. But Winning Combination is as good a radical distillation of ‘Umble Pie and Nazareth’s best as you’re likely to find, and each group’s bona fide greatest hits packages contain more than a few songs that I would never, in my wildest imaginings, want to actually hear.

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Needle Drop: Wetwood Smokes “Madeline”

It’s nice to know kids are still making perfect pop songs in the comfort of their garages. Ever since Dave Grohl chastised American Idol for ruining the future of original music, I have been waiting for someone to take his advice to heart.

SoCal trio Wetwood Smokes are here to reinvigorate your faith in the ability of our youth to craft great music sans record label, established ghost-writers, hit making producers, and the like. No, no, these youngsters have hunkered down and created their own sonic blend of “what’s good” and it sounds fresher than anything out this year.

While the Wetwood Smokes bread and butter is obviously indie rock, they do adventure into the worlds of electronic pop and folk to great effect. The organ tinged highlight “Madeline” rattles along to a hi-hat driven groove, making space for the lead singer’s retro vocal distortion. The song comes equipped with the kind of ear-wormy melodies that stick around for days after first listen and will probably be picked up by you or anyone within radius of exposure.

Pre order the forthcoming Earth Tones & Red here.

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Graded on a Curve:
Art Pepper,
Art Pepper meets The Rhythm Section

During his career alto saxophonist Art Pepper cut many records, and every jazz-friendly collection should own at least a few. But if the matter boils down to only owning one, the choice is easy; it’s 1957’s off-the-cuff masterpiece Art Pepper Meets the Rhythm Section. It features the troubled yet outstanding young horn-man in cahoots with Miles Davis’ unimpeachable rhythm team of Red Garland, Paul Chambers, and Philly Joe Jones.

Art Pepper lived one hell of a life, with large portions of it unpleasant, largely due to a heroin addiction that resulted in four prison terms. It’s all there in his book Straight Life, which rates with Charles Mingus’ Beneath the Underdog and Hampton Hawes’ Raise Up Off Me as one of the very greatest of jazz autobiographies.

Pepper was also one hell of an alto saxophonist, and additionally something of a rarity; a West Coaster who could make East Coasters happy. That’s to say he was able to play Cool but also wasn’t afraid of the blues. Though he was co-leader on ‘56’s Playboys with trumpeter and Cool-kingpin Chet Baker, Pepper’s often identified with the West Coast more by simple geography than by the moods and textures of his playing. In truth Pepper was versatile enough to be open to numerous settings; he even hit the studio with Lennie Tristano-disciple Warne Marsh (those cuts can be found on the ’72 comp The Way it Was).

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Jake Bugg, Live at Silver Platters and Shangri La

After a rather successful self-titled debut, Jake Bugg has released its follow-up, Shangri La, and we’ve got one to give away along with a special Record Store Day 2014 release, Live at Silver Platters.

Jake Bugg was only 17 when he signed with Mercury Records after performing at the Glastonbury Festival. His self-titled debut album reached number one on the UK Album Charts. His music is heavily influenced by Oasis, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, and Nick Drake.

Jake Bugg has taken over the UK by proverbial storm, and his single “Messed Up Kids” was released just yesterday.

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Graded on a Curve:
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, (s/t)

Tom Petty scares me. Always has. It’s that skull face of his. I always thought he’d be an even bigger star than he is if his face didn’t look like it should have crossbones underneath it. Yes, I suspect that Petty’s frightening apparition of a face (although he’s improved it a bit by growing hair on it) has kept him from being acknowledged for what he is: namely, a bona fide power pop genius.

Most people think of Petty as a rock’n’roller or a roots rocker or, ugh, a heartland rocker, but I say he’s a power pop genius and goddamn it, I’m right. And he’d be a power pop genius if the only song he’d ever bequeathed us is the great “American Girl,” which I put at No. 3 on my list of all-time favorite power pop smashes behind The Raspberries’ “Overnight Sensation (Hit Record)” and Big Star’s “September Gurls.” But since 1976 Petty has produced a shitload of brilliant and deceptively simple-sounding songs, from “Here Comes My Girl” to “Free Fallin’” to “I Need to Know” to “Into the Great Wide Open”—and the list goes on and on.

Petty reminds me of Creedence Clearwater Revival, another great singles band that never—in my opinion, at least—got the respect it deserved. And unlike John Fogerty—who has been reduced to producing ilk of the “put me in coach, I’m ready to play” variety—or Eric Carmen for that matter, Petty just keeps pumping them out, like a machine, or an Android from the Planet Skull. The man is a marvel, a human jukebox, and as much as I love The Raspberries and Big Star—more than I’ll ever love Tom Petty, that’s for sure—there’s no denying the guy has produced as many—or more—great tunes than both those bands put together.

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