The TVD Storefront

Spinning: Arnold,
“Oh My”

Look, it’s hard to tell people how you feel, what’s going on, the tides pushing and pulling.

Time was when a mixtape was that bridge, or the spin of a well-intentioned record eliciting its own waltz about a candlelit room with the object of one’s adoration.

It’s an emotional world, it is. Thus TVD HQ’s recurring fuel for your fires, mixtapes, and fan letters.

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TVD New Orleans

Leo Nocentelli master class and performance
at Le Petit Theatre du Vieux Carre, 8/27

When Leo Nocentelli, the legendary guitarist from the Meters, moved back to town after decades in Los Angeles, he told interviewers not to expect too many local performances. This Saturday night, the funk master is providing something completely different. He will be offering his services as both a teacher and a musician to an intimate group at the famed 100-year-old theater in the French Quarter.

Given Nocentelli’s freewheeling nature as a musician, it’s likely to be a one of a kind event, which is formally billed as, “Dickie Brennan & Co. Presents an Intimate Musical Education Evening with Leo Nocentelli.” Brennan is the famed restaurateur whose business is invested in the theater as well as the adjoining restaurant, Tableau.

Joining Nocentelli on stage will be drummer Jamal Batiste and bassist Nick Daniels. Vocalists Rockin’ Dopsie Jr., Darcy Malone, Margie Perez, and Don Bartholomew are on board as well. Eric Paulsen of WWL-TV Channel 4 News will be the host for the evening.

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The TVD Storefront

Andrew Belle,
The TVD First Date

“To be honest, the first time I set a needle to a record was only about 7 years ago. I was born in 1984 and so by the time I was really interested in music, cassettes and CDs were the most commonly available. My family didn’t own a record player—I think maybe my grandparents had an old Victrola in the basement but it was basically furniture.”

“In fact, my first real memory of being excited about music of any kind wasn’t until Christmas 1995. I asked for and got my first boombox CD/Cassette combo, paired with the soundtracks from my two favorite movies at the time—Batman Forever and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls. So needless to say, I was a late bloomer. Here are a few memories that come to mind with regard to my discovery of vinyl:

1. In 2009, I was in Seattle to open a show for Ben Folds in Bellingham, WA. It was just a one-off opportunity but I was still excited out of my mind for the opportunity. I had never been to WA and barely had any money back then and so I remember having to call in favors to get picked up at the airport at midnight, sleep on someone’s couch, and then bum a ride to Bellingham from another singer-songwriter my manager was friends with.

Except it turns out he was busy that night and so his girlfriend—who none of us knew—offered to drive us the 2 hours there and back instead. With a little time to kill that day, our new friends showed us around Seattle—specifically a little artsy neighborhood called Fremont. We wandered into a record shop and for some reason, despite not owning a record player myself or having ever bought vinyl before, I walked out with U2’s War album and Bruce Springsteen’s Born in the USA. Those were the first 2 records I ever bought.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Swamp Dogg,
Total Destruction
to Your Mind

Let us, dear reader, turn to the strange case of Jerry Williams, aka Swamp Dogg. In 1970, tired of playing “second banana” and biding his time as a “jukebox” for other people’s songs while getting screwed over in the royalties department in the process, the deep soul and R&B singer decided to reinvent himself. “So,” in his own words, “I came up with the name Dogg because a dog can do anything, and anything a dog does never comes as a real surprise; if he sleeps on the sofa, shits on the rug, pisses on the drapes, chews up your slippers, humps your mother-in-law’s leg, jumps on your new clothes and licks your face, he’s never gotten out of character. You understand what he did, you curse while making allowances for him but your love for him never diminishes.”

Dogg’s reinvention, which was apparently aided by an LSD trip, allowed him to turn his attention to, in his own words again, “Sex, niggers, love, rednecks, war, peace, dead flies, home wreckers, Sly Stone, my daughters, politics, revolution and blood transfusions (just to name a few),” without ever getting out of character. Recorded at Muscle Shoals and Macon, Georgia with a bevy of incredibly talented session guys, the songs on Dogg’s 1970 debut LP Total Destruction to Your Mind are every bit as strange as the album’s cover, which shows Swamp Dogg in his underwear sitting on a pile of garbage. One of a kind he is. If you have any doubts, check out his Christmas album, which boasts the wonderful title, “An Awful Christmas and a Lousy New Year.”

No, there’s no doubt about it, Swamp Dogg is one of a kind. The very soulful “I Was Born Blue” posits a world in which Dogg is blue and the rest of the world has orange skin and green hair; “Sal-A-Faster” is, I think, a hilarious testimonial to the wonders of LSD. But who knows? As for the horn-fueled “Dust Your Color Red,” I have no idea whatsoever what Swamp Dogg is talking about, or to be more accurate, testifying about.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/26/16

Sounds like an (un)broken record: Talking about a record collection makes someone sound old. Hopefully, always makes a person sound educated on how to care for music and art. If someone wanted to record an album in 1975, that person needed to either be rich or be talented enough and play ball enough with record companies to get one of them to bankroll a recording session and tour. This provided a higher benchmark of talent to reach.

The definitive guide to São Paulo’s best record shops: São Paulo is the third largest city in the world and Brazil’s sprawling cultural hub…Luckily, a large majority of the record stores are very close together in the downtown (Centro) area. The stores are mostly located in galerias (shopping malls) and often you can encounter 10+ stores on a single floor. Some of the best record stores are in the downtown galerias but travel outside of the city centre and you’ll be equally rewarded, as long as you know where to look.

Asia Minute: Vinyl’s Record Appeal in Japan: Tokyo is getting another record store…and a pretty big one. Jiji News reports the store in the Shinjuku neighborhood will have about 70,000 records for sale…along with record players, and some 20,000 CD’s. It will be run by a subsidiary of the convenience store Lawson’s, which launched its first record store in the nearby area of Shibuya a couple of years ago. Most of the records in the new store will be used, with prices ranging from about three dollars to as much as a thousand dollars for rare items.

How To Connect A Turntable To Your Wireless Speaker: … as we enter a golden age of streaming music, the popularity of a dinosaur music format is going gangbusters. It’s hard to imagine a less practical format for playing music than a vinyl album –it’s huge, one scratch and it’s ruined, the vinyl warps in heat and a vinyl record can cost $25 or more– but vinyl is hot. Vinyl album sales have grown every year for the past decade. That means more and more people are investing in a turntable, hitting the local used record store and then trying to figure out how the heck to listen to these records over their Bluetooth speaker—because many of them have never had the need to buy a traditional stereo system.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live Shots: Train and Andy Grammer at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 8/20

San Francisco rock outfit, Train brought their crisp, progressive tones to Merriweather Post Pavilion on Saturday night along with an energetic performance from opening act Andy Grammer.

Train’s commercial success dates back to the ’90s with the hit single “Meet Virginia” from their 1998 debut album. The band’s second release scored two Grammy Award wins for the single “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” in 2002, and Train’s third studio album, My Private Nation was certified platinum with the release of the hit “Calling All Angels” in 2003. Judging by the droves of fans that lined the grounds at Merriweather on Saturday, it’s clear that this band still touches the hearts of many who flock to see them.

While the band’s lineup has changed over the years, their core remains intact with band mates Jimmy Stafford and lead singer Patrick Monahan conducting this train. The current lineup includes Jerry Becker, Luis Maldonaldo, Hector Maldonado, Drew Shoals, and Nikita Houston and Sakai Smith on backing vocals. Live, Train’s sound is clean and refreshing and they are completely in their element on stage.

When Andy Grammer walked into the spotlight to get the night started he brought an overdose of charisma and charm that was matched by the sheer talent of his backing band. Grammer, a multi-instrumentalist, played the piano, trumpet, guitar, showcased his dancing abilities, and set the evening off with proverbial panache.

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The TVD Storefront

Spinning: The Style Council, “The Paris Match” (feat. Tracey Thorn)

Look, it’s hard to tell people how you feel, what’s going on, the tides pushing and pulling.

Time was when a mixtape was that bridge, or the spin of a well-intentioned record eliciting its own waltz about a candlelit room with the object of one’s adoration.

It’s an emotional world, it is. Thus TVD HQ’s recurring fuel for your fires and mixtapes. Reading between the lines—encouraged.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Cannonball Adderley, Somethin’ Else

Blue Note Records is celebrating 75 years of existence by giving numerous key titles from their incomparable catalog high-quality vinyl reissues, and it’s fitting that we begin our tribute to the label’s longevity with a look at one of their very finest releases, the great alto saxophonist Julian Cannonball Adderley’s 1958 masterwork Somethin’ Else.

The LPs of Blue Note’s classic-era are aptly described as an embarrassment of riches. Along with loads of amazing music, there is of course the surrounding context, and engaging with the fruits of the imprint’s labors offers a truly enlightening historical narrative. Naturally, it’s only part of jazz’s larger story, but it’s also a highly valuable component since Blue Note is an example where respect for the music trumped pure capitalistic desire.

That respect extended to the amount of studio time given to the musicians, but it also concerned other vital aspects of record production, beginning with the use of engineer Rudy Van Gelder and ending with the company’s justly celebrated graphic design. Blue Note didn’t have the market cornered on either the Van Gelder touch or the manufacturing of handsome album jackets, for it really was a fantastic era in terms of both fidelity and sharply conceived presentation, but throughout the salad days of Modern Jazz (and for a good while afterward) the label was at the forefront.

Somethin’ Else is one of many excellent Van Gelder jobs, but some may evaluate its sleeve as solid but not spectacular. Please allow me to disagree. While I don’t think it’s one of the very greatest of Blue Note covers, it is nicely pared down to only essential information and is a fine model of strong but subtle construction; obviously the large black space, but also the contrast with the white lettering, and then the font, bold type that possesses just a hint of distinctiveness. Add the further contrasting element of color, with green for the leader and blue for his band.

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TVD New Orleans

The Bad Plus’ It’s Hard in stores Friday, 8/26

The famed piano, bass, and drums jazz trio return to their roots with a new album featuring amazing cover versions of songs make famous by an incredibly diverse group of musicians and bands. The album is available in stores as well at all leading digital retailers on August 26, 2016.

I have been a fan of the Bad Plus since their early days as a band. A recent album The Bad Plus Joshua Redman was in steady rotation for months. But I first became intrigued with the group because of their inventive rearrangements of songs like Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” Pink Floyd’s “Comfortably Numb,” and Blondie’s “Heart of Glass.”

After several years recording original music, the band is back to doing covers. They have created what is bound to be an enduring album with songs by Prince, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Peter Gabriel, TV On The Radio, Kraftwerk, and Ornette Coleman among others.

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The TVD Storefront

Jonas Martin, The TVD First Date and Premiere, The Color Scheme

“My dad loved technology and was always interested in the newest thing. I remember being the only weirdo on my block with a computer when I was a kid. Just amber dots on the screen but there were still cool games on it.”

“I remember that he got us a LaserDisc player when that was a thing for about one day. When it came to music, we had cassettes, CDs, and eventually he had a library of about two terabytes on his PC. So, I actually don’t remember ever listening to vinyl when I was growing up but they were there, in the house. Shelves and shelves covering all sides of his office. Some of them framed on the wall above his desk. Some just stored in the garage alongside a pile of old turntables. At least 6-800 albums that he refused to get rid of even if he wasn’t utilizing their unique richness of sound. For years I wondered, “What’s the deal with these gigantic discs? Why keep them?”

One day after I had left the nest, my girlfriend came home with a turntable and some vinyl she picked up at a thrift store and I started to understand the appeal. This big beautiful jacket with so much more to engage you. The tender sonics of the linear sound recording coming out of the speakers. Even the limitations of the thing were interesting to me, especially when I began to design my own vinyl records years later. But that’s a different story. Anyway, I went to my dad and asked him to give me all that vinyl I knew he wasn’t even listening to. “Nope, sorry.” “Pleeease…” “Ok, maybe you can have a couple.” This went on for years.

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