The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Black Angels, Passover

Vietnam: a war fought against ghosts, amidst the phantom voices in the mist rising above the rice paddies, involving ambushes sudden and lethal followed by air strikes that lit up the jungle like a carnival ground gone mad. No rhyme, reason, or rationale, a conflict fought by children who neither knew nor cared about the hows and whys, an endless scrimmage against wizards and demons waged by means of counter-magic and amulets, a string of human ears worn around the neck.

It was a war carried to an invisible enemy in hot LZs and during night patrols, a war of slow attrition that finally broke America’s young men down, and led them to unleash their impotent rage against innocent women and children, leaving mutilated bodies piled and bloated in a ditch in a village called My Lai. It was the first war with its own drugs and soundtrack, and one day it just vanished, poof, like a magic trick where the man sawed in half really gets sawed in half, but somehow manages to make it home, with his bright burden of unspeakable memories, shadowed by his own cast of unshakable ghosts, bathed in the night sweats brought on by secrets never to be divulged.

I don’t know if I’d go so far as to call the Black Angels’ Passover a Vietnam War concept album, but it sure sounds like one to me. Listening to it, I can almost see the phantom shadows of Charlie hiding in the high grass, hear the mortar rounds, see the Huey gunships swooping in low over the rice paddies, 2.75 inch rockets obliterating everything—water buffalo, ancient farmers in pajama pants with wispy beards and primitive hoes—in sight. It’s a dark LP, phantasmagoric and psychedelic and dirge-like, and it evokes the feel of paranoia and dread—the prevailing emotional realities of Vietnam—as well as anything I’ve ever heard. It’s also beautiful, as beautiful as the deadly jungles the grunts patrolled so long ago, and it’s that beauty that keeps me coming back to Passover, like a guy who signs on for a second tour of duty without having the slightest notion why.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new—and FREE—tracks received last week, provided here to inform your next trip to your local indie record store. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Rounds – Big Love
2econd Class Citizen – Roll On
Arum Rae – I Love Love
Jimi Charles Moody – Other Man
Padorr – One Last Love Song (So He Says)
We Came As Strangers – Eyedom
GLADES – Falling Away
Outblinker – Pink (Machines in Heaven MIX)
La Luz – Don’t Wanna Be Anywhere
Castro – Glass Hearts

TVD SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
The Hudson Branch – Pedal

Gold Class – Life As A Gun
Stolen Jars – Bright Red
Broke Royals – The Thick Of It
Minden – Saint
SG Lewis – No Less (Filip Flip)
Zapéd – After Prague
Gallant – Weight In Gold (Dimond Saints Remix)
Beca – Hit To The Head (Loveskills Remix)
Kevin Hunter – Wild Life
Dj Furyza – Cobrah! (Radio Mix)

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/3/15

Vinyl Tuesday gets its launch: “Vinyl Tuesday is an international initiative started by independent retailers to highlight and promote vinyl record releases every Tuesday. Furthermore, it’s a way to support and celebrate physical retail in this digital age where information on new vinyl releases can easily be overlooked or forgotten by the consumer.”

Martin Scorsese and Mick Jagger team up for record label drama, Set in 1970s New York, Vinyl will explore the drug-fuelled music business at the dawn of punk and disco, starring Olivia Wilde and Jagger’s son James

Paul McCartney Preps ‘Tug of War,’ ‘Pipes of Peace’ Reissues: “Along with the various multi-disc versions, both albums will be reissued as two-LP sets on 180-gram vinyl. The reissues of Tug of War and Pipes of Peace are available to pre-order now. They mark the latest installments in the ongoing Paul McCartney Archive Collection, which began with the re-release of McCartney and Wings’ 1973 LP, Band on the Run.”

Vinyl ruins, There may be some gold records to be found in Thrift Trader’s giveaways: As previously reported by the Reader, the mezzanine in the Hillcrest location of Thrift Trader collapsed early in the morning (around 4 a.m.) on June 22. The collapse was due to the weight of vinyl records and caused considerable damage to the building. The incident sent albums and other debris pouring onto the adjacent University Avenue sidewalk.

‘A Vinyl Affair’ – Wellington’s record fair – 29th August 2015 at San Fran! Fast becoming a fixture in the Wellington music lover’s calendar, ‘A Vinyl Affair – Wellington’s record fair’ is back again this month at San Fran on Cuba St.

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TVD Los Angeles

The Best of The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON 4/17/15 | Greetings from Indio, California!

Driving through the desert, blasting rock ‘n’ roll is righteous. Kem Nunn’s novel, Tapping The Source comes to mind:

“…As he listened the train sounds grew faint and disappeared and someone shut off the music so there was just the silence, that special kind of silence that comes to the desert, and he knew that if he waited there would come a time, stars fading, slim band of light creeping on the horizon, when the silence would grow until it was unbearable, until it was as if the land itself were about to break it, to give up some secret of its own…”

Day dreaming of bad dudes with surfboards strapped to the roof of a dusty car pulling into desert gas station… I know I’m trippin’, or should I say California dreaming—and why not?

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TVD Nashville

TVD Live: Forecastle Festival 2015, 7/17–7/19

PHOTOS: ELENA HIBBS | This year’s edition of Forecastle Festival proved yet again that it is one of the country’s most enjoyable, user-friendly musical gatherings. Part of that is due to host city Louisville, Kentucky, an art-friendly upper South enclave huddled along the Ohio River. Its Waterfront Park, the festival’s location, is an inviting 85-acre greenspace that lends itself perfectly to Forecastle’s four stage set-up.

The majority of the festival’s success can be attributed to the excellent staff who, in partnership with AC Entertainment (the folks who bring you Bonnaroo), are focused on producing a unique cultural experience. This land-locked Love Boat keeps good vibes and good music flowing throughout its annual three-day cruise.

Heavy rains and flooding in the area over the last few weeks had caused the Ohio River to reach near-record heights, requiring some of the stages to be moved a little further inland from the river bank. The heat also played a bigger than usual role this year, with temps getting into the upper 90s. Forecastle handled the climate conditions in stride, providing free water refilling stations and multiple points offering free sunscreen.

If you needed a break from solar assault, there were plenty of shaded areas in which to cool down, including the circus tent-sized Bourbon Lodge. Speaking of which, I accidentally discovered that Four Roses Single Barrel and Gatorade Lemon-Lime makes a surprisingly refreshing cocktail. But I digress.

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TVD UK

James Mackenzie,
The TVD First Date

“One of my first memories, or experiences of vinyl was around 20 years ago—I was only 8 years old.”

“My dad was (and still is a little bit) an “old skool” DJ. He’d take in his homemade double deck from the shed along with a dozen boxes of vinyl. It was mostly 7″ singles. He once told me that he bought everything in the Top 40 every week for years. I found this quite fascinating. I can’t be distinct about which songs I heard first but I remember hearing songs like “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” and ZZ Top’s version of “Viva Las Vegas.”

Then about 5 years ago I asked my old man, “Hey, where are all those records you used to have?” He was storing them in an old leaking shed out the back! I think most people will be aware that records are not happy in cold damp spaces. So, I made a day of it and sieved through all the vinyl—some good, some bad, and some fucking awful. I took all the stuff I was into at the time, every Gun, Metallica, and a Maiden 7″ I could find.

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TVD New Orleans

Satchmo SummerFest 2015 Weekend Picks

Satchmo SummerFest is all about Louis Armstrong—his instruments, his incomparable trumpet playing, and his inimitable vocal stylings. But ace musicians always surrounded him. This year more than ever the annual event has reached out to other instrumentation with performances by guitar players and pianists among the many trumpeters. The full schedule for Saturday is here and Sunday is here.

While Ellis Marsalis, Deacon John and many of the trumpeters on the schedule are certainly well-known musicians, we certainly shouldn’t overlook the other working players especially those on other instruments. Top on my list plays early on Saturday.

Seva Venet is a banjo player, guitarist, and music historian. He has put together a great aggregation which includes nary a horn player. His Storyville String Band reaches back into the first years of the 20th century when jazz was just being born.

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TVD UK

The Single Girl: Reverieme, “Or Else
The Light” EP

There’s a sadness in Reverieme’s voice that far surpasses her youth. That’s not to cast her recent EP, “Or Else The Light” with a completely melancholy note—there’s some genuine lyrical humour in tracks such as “Nocturnal Babe” and “Golem,” and Louise Connell’s (Reverieme’s real name) use of the ukulele and banjo adds a playfulness to her sound. She also claims to be able to play the guitar with her nose, so you know that there’s some humour behind the voice.

Louise has said very little about the meaning behind her songs which, in a way, we’re grateful for, and so should you be. Allowing listeners to print their own memory on a creation is a selfless act, and there is some gorgeous lyrical imagery flowing through these tracks—unburdened by pre-conceptions makes them all the more effective.

Get comfortable, lie back, and close your eyes. This is an EP that needs to be enjoyed minus background noise. This is not filler or something you can just pop on. It demands your full attention as to pick up every subtle nuance of the guitar, every lilt in her voice, and drink in the lyrics.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Steppenwolf, The Best
of Steppenwolf

At the turn of the seventies, Steppenwolf were the shit. They produced a handful of classic songs—biker anthems and dope cautionary tales and tunes that captured the confused mood of the times—and then broke up, and the loss was ours. But what I like the most about them is the way they lost members. Original bassist Rushton Moreve was fired in 1968 after he refused to set foot in California, convinced by his hippie girlfriend who received portents that it was going to slide into the sea. Meanwhile, guitarist Michael Monarch was sacked after showing up for a gig wearing only bunny ears and a jock strap and playing his guitar loudly and out of tune. He got fired, in other words, for being the un-Butthole Surfer.

Kay, who was born in Prussia and whose real name was Joachim Fritz Krauledat, formed Steppenwolf in Toronto in 1967. Their rise to the top was not one long and slow slog through the merciless rock swamp—by 1968 they were famous, thanks to the success of “Born to Be Wild.” The band’s profile was increased by the inclusion of “Born to Be Wild” and their cover of Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher” on the Easy Rider soundtrack. After that, hit followed hit until the usual creative difficulties led the band to break up on Valentine’s Day, 1972.

Steppenwolf have kinda been forgotten, with the exception of “Born to Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride.” And both songs, while great, have an antiquated feel to them. That said, songs like “The Pusher”—one of the most furious anti-hard-drugs songs ever written—sound like they could have been recorded yesterday. Kay never sounds so strident as he does on “The Pusher,” threatening, “I’d cut him if he stands/And shoot him if he’d run/Yes I’d kill him with my razor/And my Bible and my gun.” The guitarist plays cool riffs throughout, giving the song an ominous vibe, all coiled menace like a poisonous snake about to strike.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 7/31/15

Teaming up with Universal Music, the Zappa family have revealed major plans for new releases. A new partnership between the Zappa Family Trust and Universal Music Enterprises will bring vinyl reissues of classic albums, exclusives from the vaults and film and theatrical productions. The first confirmed album release is a remastered 180g vinyl edition ofOne Size Fits All, the ’74 album from Zappa’s band The Mothers of Invention, which drops on August 14th.

Vinyl Day brings back memories of music listening rituals: “As we walked through the door, I was greeted by a man who excitedly asked me “Do you like vinyl records?!” This was like a fastball down the middle, but I kept a straight face and played it calmly, answering “Yes, indeed I do…”

Pretty things set for Tower Records in-store: “Their new release The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, Of Course…) might mark 52 years on the go, but R&B heroes The Pretty Things are slowing down for nobody. In fact, the pioneering band are going positively old-school and undertaking a tour of indie record stores in a few months time – including a visit to Tower Records on September 16.”

Vid: The resurgence of vinyl records, Is vinyl back? “One man explains why he loves record players.”

‘Disgusting’ swaplifter swipes valuable record from Manchester city centre charity shop: But staff at the store are now appealing for the offender to return the record – before he’s tracked down by police

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