TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

You said somethin’ / You said somethin’ / You said somethin’ / That was really important

The truth is I have nothing to complain about. I’d like to, but today . . . nada.

Last night when I cut this Idelic Hour episode I noticed it was 2/22. Made me think of shooting craps with my dad. The old man loved the sharp pocket knives and the “hard four.”

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Steve Forbert and Freedy Johnston at Jammin’ Java, 2/17

Steve Forbert teaming up with Freedy Johnston to tour sounds like a perfect match, until you imagine them trying to combine their distinctly rough-hewn, sometimes ragged voices as they tool down the road.

That may be the reason why the two never quite share the stage in shows like the one Saturday night in northern Virginia. Instead, the idea that each brings their audience along to appreciate the other’s set which are after all pretty simpatico in lyric smarts and tuneful melodies (if not always the smoothest of pipes).

Johnston, the Kansas native, burst on the scene with a bunch of fine songs in his early albums 30 years ago. Songs from his 1994 This Perfect World still comprise about half of his freewheeling solo set (which was pretty different from the set a week before). But he had songs from three other albums, including his latest, the 2022 Back on the Road to You, as well as a new, yet unrecorded tune about the time he tried to be a drummer in a band but was fired (since he had no experience whatsoever behind a set).

“I’ve played here about 200 times,” he said to the familiar settings of the strip mall club in Vienna, VA. “It’s great to be here for the 201st!” He didn’t dress for the occasion, in his ball cap, black T shirt over black long sleeve T-shirt, jeans, and a key ring outside his belt loop, janitor-style. But he had a good rapport with the fans, requesting some “hot liquid” two songs in because “my voice needs help.” He weighted the end of his set with “This Perfect World,” his cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman” to his conclusive “Bad Reputation.”

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Gene Clark, The Lost Studio Sessions: 1964–1982 in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Beyond his achievements as a founding member of The Byrds, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Gene Clark was one of the most gifted and prolific singer-songwriters of the rock era.

The Lost Studio Sessions 1964–1982, which first surfaced on Sierra Records in 2016, is a connoisseur’s collection of lost recordings from pivotal points in Clark’s career, including: “She Darked the Sun,” first recorded by Dillard and Clark, represented here by a previously undocumented version cut in 1970 with the Flying Burrito Brothers (featuring Gram Parsons, ex-Byrds Chris Hillman and Michael Clarke, and future member of the Eagles, Bernie Leadon); tracks from the 1972 Roadmaster sessions (featuring Roger McGuinn); and five tracks from 1982’s Nyteflyte project which saw Clark reuniting with Hillman and Clarke.

Now Liberation Hall, in association with Sierra Global and the Gene Clark Estate, is re-releasing The Lost Studio Sessions 1964–1982 on CD, download, and limited-edition translucent tan, gatefold double vinyl. These historic recordings are presented with the best possible sound quality, mastered from the original analog monaural, stereo, and multitrack tapes.

Both LP and CD include a deluxe booklet with rare photos, production and recording information, and extensive liner notes by compilation producer John Delgatto and Clark experts Johnny Rogan, John Einarson, and Domenic Priore.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
David Sylvian,
Brilliant Trees

Celebrating David Sylvian, born on this day in 1958.Ed.

When UK new wavers Japan broke up in 1982, the members predictably splintered off into various directions, and the highest profiles belonged to Mick Karn and David Sylvian. Over the decades the latter has amassed a solo and collaborative discography of unlikely reach and impressiveness; however, giving a fresh listen to ‘84’s Brilliant Trees makes abundantly clear Sylvian’s career trajectory isn’t as surprising as it might initially seem.

Upon consideration, very few musicians who made their name in the pop sphere have aged as well as David Sylvian. Of course, this is mainly due to his choice after Japan’s dissolution (they briefly reunited for one self-titled ’91 album under the name Rain Tree Crow) to gradually leave the milieu that fostered his initial reputation. The subsequent journey led him into the outlying territories of experimentation and the avant-garde, though this shouldn’t give the false impression that Sylvian’s post-Japan oeuvre is devoid of pop elements.

As a youngster of the ‘80s, I knew little of Japan, my discovery of Sylvian supplied by his ’87 collaboration with Ryuichi Sakamoto, Secrets of the Beehive. The introduction was made through the frequent play and promotion of said disc by my hometown Mom & Pop record mart, an enterprise also involved in the sale of high end stereo equipment.

To my teen mind any system comprised of separate components was high end, and at the time Secrets of the Beehive basically eluded me, as did much “deep-listening” material attached to ambient, new age, minimalism, art-pop etc. Reengaging with Sylvian as a mature adult provided, if not an epiphany than another instance aiding the realization that artistic assessments work in tandem with personal growth, therefore flouting finality.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Big Sugar, 500 Pounds reissue in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Third Man Records, in partnership with Canadian-born and bred blues rocker, Gordie Johnson, and his group Big Sugar, has reissued the band’s classic 500 Pounds both digitally and on vinyl today. In Third Man Records’ founder, Jack White’s own words, 500 Pounds is “the best blues-based record to ever come out of Canada,” and an early inspiration and influence on his own approach to songwriting and guitar playing. The album is available now on black vinyl. Due to popular demand, they already are in their second pressing.

Big Sugar’s well-known record 500 Pounds, first released in the US in 1995, stands as a defining masterpiece in their discography. Produced by Gordie Johnson this album marked a pivotal moment for the band, showcasing their ability to seamlessly blend blues, rock, and reggae.

Gordie Johnson’s soulful vocals and masterful guitar work, combined with the talents of the original lineup created a sonic landscape that resonated with fans. 500 Pounds is not merely an album; it’s a musical journey exploring the complexities of life and love. Tracks like “All Over Now,” “Still Waitin’,” and “Ride Like Hell” exemplify the band’s dynamic range, from heartfelt ballads to energetic, blues-infused rock anthems.

The collaborative production efforts of Gordie Johnson, Peter Prilesnik, and Tom Treumuth played a crucial role in shaping the album’s distinctive sound. This record’s impact extended beyond Canadian borders, earning Big Sugar recognition on the international stage. With its release, the band cemented its reputation as pioneers in genre fusion, influencing subsequent generations of musicians.

500 Pounds remains a timeless testament to Big Sugar’s artistic brilliance, and its enduring popularity attests to the album’s lasting impact on the rock and blues landscape. The collaborative efforts of the producers, along with the distinctive performances, make this record a cornerstone in the legacy of both Big Sugar and Canadian rock. This is the first-ever US vinyl edition.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Cage the Elephant,
Social Cues

Alt-rock megastars Cage the Elephant have won two Grammy Awards for Best Rock Album of the year, and I think I know why: they’re boring. Toothless. Bland. Not out to make any waves. They’re the Whitney Houston of alternative rock, and proof that playing it safe is a sure-fire way to win the hearts and minds of the middle-of-the-road industry types who hand out the big prizes. Phil Collins would be proud.

It wasn’t always thus. Before they settled upon utter vapidity as cunning career strategy Cage the Elephant produced some moderately exciting blues and punk music—the Pixies get cited a lot—but time and craven ambition seem to have sandblasted what rough edges they had right off of them.

Compare their eponymous 2008 debut (and songs like “In One Ear” and “Free Love”) to 2020’s anodyne Social Cues and what you’ll hear is an elephant that decided to cage itself out of fear that running amok might impact sales or, even worse, alienate the music industry insiders who shape posterity. Just take a gander at this year’s slate of Rock & Roll Hall of Fame nominees. Mariah Carey. The Dave Matthews Band. Sade. Lenny Kravitz. Lenny Kravitz!! When it comes to the rock industrial complex, playing it safe is playing it smart. And taking chances is chancy.

If Cage the Elephant’s grand strategy is to be out-tame Tame Impala, I congratulate them on their success. (Perfect name for supergroup: Tame the Elephant.) On the Grammy-winning Social Cues the six-piece (which was a four-piece until 2017) combine anything-but-enthralling dance rhythms (it’s telling that their real drummer does an impressive imitation of a drum machine throughout) with anything-but-enthralling pop/New Wave melodies topped by lead vox Matt Shultz’s mostly pureed vocals and depressingly generic lyrics.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/23/24

Vinyl sales to hit $5.2B in 2024, highest since 1990: Vinyl sales expected to reach $5.2 Billion in 2024, nearly double the amount made in the past three years. The popularity of vinyl records is on the rise, and artists are predicted to make a whopping $5.2 billion from vinyl sales in 2024, nearly double the amount made in the past three years. This surge in vinyl sales is due to a number of factors, including a growing appreciation for the sound quality of vinyl and a desire to support artists directly. Streaming services have made music more accessible than ever before, but they also pay artists very little money. Many artists struggle to make a living from streaming alone, and vinyl sales provide a much-needed source of income. In addition, vinyl records are seen as a more tangible way to support artists, as fans can physically own the music they love. The predicted rise in vinyl sales is good news for both artists and music lovers. For artists, it means a more sustainable way to make a living from their music. For music lovers, it means having access to high-quality music that they can cherish for years to come.

Delhi, IN | New Delhi record store Digging In India opens: Specialising in old Indian music and rare groove, the store plans to host listening sessions and workshops. Indian music archivist Nishant Mittal, who DJs as Digging In India, has opened a record shop in New Delhi. Named after his alias, the one-room store opened its doors on February 18th and is primarily stocked with Mittal’s vast personal collection. It includes Indian music of various genres and languages, including Bollywood, Tamil film soundtracks, disco, ghazals, qawwali, Hindustani classical, Carnatic and Bengali folk. A section of Indian spoken word, comedy and film dialogues is specially curated for sample heads and beatmakers. Rare groove records from Japan, the Middle East, Africa and Singapore are also available, plus rock, disco and pop. The store eventually plans to host intimate listening sessions and workshops, as well as artist meet and greets. “We want to promote vinyl culture and make vinyl more accessible and less intimidating for newcomers…”

Cambridge, WI | Strictly Discs to hold off on Record Store Day in Cambridge: The Strictly Discs location at 101 W. Main Street Cambridge will hold off on participating in Record Store Day (RSD) this April 20, according to owner Rick Stoner. Stoner, who acquired the company last fall and has been mostly working out of the Madison Strictly Discs location, has been making steady progress at establishing the Cambridge location with a projected opening in June. That June date is still set as an anticipated opening, which will fall in the same month as Make Music Day on June 21, in which Cambridge will participate with cities around the world who fill the streets with music. …Historically, RSD sees record stores organizing special sales or other sales incentives. Vinyl aficionados often treat the day like a music-focused Black Friday event, lining up outside stores from the early hours of the morning until opening in order to secure high-value items.

Winsford, UK | Call for community to help save record store after owner involved in crash: Owners of a record store and café are calling on the Winsford community to help save the high street shop. The Electric Church on Over Square had announced it was intending to close for good earlier this month. However, following a flood of support the store, it has managed to turn the tables and is continuing to open for business. This comes despite owner Jimi Ray Coppack and his wife being involved in a crash on Friday night (February 16), after a fox ran out in front of their car, which has been written off. Jimi and his wife were left ‘bruised and a bit shaken up’ after the collision, but now he is calling on their customers to help them save The Electric Church. He said: “We need the local community that has supported us so far to continue doing so and I hope the support that has been directed our way is a reflection of people’s appreciation of The Electric Church and not just because people thought we would be closing.

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes at the Roundhouse, 2/15

Back in 2016, when the UK’s damp air first wrapped itself around me, I stumbled upon a sound so ferocious, it felt like a sonic uppercut. “Juggernaut” by Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes was a revelation—imagine Quicksand’s grit, Lamb of God’s fury, and Fugazi’s defiant edge all mashed into one. It was more than music; it was a call to arms. Carter’s live performances elevated this fury, with a presence so intense it could ignite a fire in the rain. The man was angry, and his music was the storm.

Fast forward to the embrace of 2024, and Frank Carter has done what few dare—he’s swung the pendulum from fury to finesse, embodying a transformation akin to the Arctic Monkeys’ genre-defying leaps. Donning the mantle of a big band leader, Carter croons with a finesse that belies his punk roots, showcasing a creative evolution that is as unexpected as it is captivating. The latest record, Dark Rainbows, is nothing short of brilliant, a testament to Carter’s unyielding drive to explore and expand his musical landscape.

Dark Rainbows marks a significant shift in Frank Carter’s musical direction, showcasing his vocal talents amid broader, more experimental soundscapes. This departure from the intense, raw energy of his past work is evident in standout tracks like “Honey,” which combines catchy melodies with a depth of emotion and a distinctive ’80s new wave feel, and “Man of the Hour” which introduces a ’70s AM radio vibe, adding a slow jam feel to the album.

These tracks speak to a more refined artistic vision, highlighting the band’s willingness to explore different musical eras. However, this change has not been universally praised. While some listeners appreciate the experimentation, others miss the direct, aggressive edge that characterized the Rattlesnakes’ earlier music, criticizing the album’s slow start and its focus on atmosphere over guitar-driven rock.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Harmonia, Musik von Harmonia 50th anniversary 2LP edition in stores 4/20

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Groenland Records is set to release the first Harmonia album entitled Musik von Harmonia available exclusively at participating record stores as part of Record Store Day. The release will be on double LP and contains versatile reworks and remixes by internationally renowned artists and Harmonia companions to mark the album’s 50th anniversary.

Harmonia consisted of German supergroup Dieter Moebius, Hans-Joachim Roedelius, and Michael Rother. Moebius and Roedelius were in the band Cluter while Rother had just left Kraftwerk to form the duo Neu! with legendary drummer Klaus Dinger. In the mid-1970s, Harmonia blew up everything that spanned the German sound corset and were so alone in the field that their innovative work received hardly any attention in Germany. Yet what emerged there in the mid-1970s represented a real momentum. Without Harmonia and groups like Kraftwerk, Can, and Tangerine Dream, entire genres would hardly be conceivable today.

Brian Eno who was already one of the most respected music artists (and biggest Harmonia fans) at the time prompted the trio to unite for the legendary recording session that became their debut LP. The trio’s sound became an inspiration for his work with David Bowie, Devo, and Ultravox in those years. Though the band was only together from ’73-’76, their work continues to have an impact to this day and is an integral part of the intricate chain that led to ambient and techno.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Johnny Winter,
Still Alive and Well

Remembering Johnny Winter in advance of his birthdate tomorrow.Ed.

Famed music critic Frank Sinatra once called rock ’n’ roll the “most brutal, ugly, desperate, vicious form of expression it has been my misfortune to hear.” The crooner who liked to eat scrambled eggs off the breasts of prostitutes added it’s the handiwork of “cretinous goons,” and called it a “rancid-smelling aphrodisiac… that fosters almost totally negative and destructive reactions in young people.” Wow! Sounds great! Where do I sign up?

Good thing The Chairman of the Board never (I’m assuming) got a gander at the Winter Brothers, Johnny and Edgar. One look at Edgar Winter on the cover of 1972’s They Only Come Out at Night would have confirmed his every prejudice, and struck him dead with a coronary thrombosis as well. That or he’d have amended his comments to say, “cretinous goons.”

But to hell, says I, with Frank Sinatra. And God bless dem low-down pink-eyed blues. The Winter Brothers have given us so much great music over the years you’d need a fleet of dump trucks to haul it all away. And it hasn’t been all blues by any means. Edgar, an inveterate dabbler, has recorded pop, blues, rock, boogie, jazz-fusion, and whatever the hell you call “Frankenstein,” while Johnny has played his fair share of straight-ahead hard rock.

In any case, I had a heckuva time deciding whether to review They Only Come Out at Night or Johnny’s 1973 classic Still Alive and Well. I finally opted for the latter because (1) Edgar’s a Scientologist, and I’m a bigot and (2) while Edgar boasts one fantastic set of mutton chops, Johnny has better hair. And a less flamboyant taste in neck bling. The choker Edgar sports on They Only Come Out at Night looks like a Versailles chandelier.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Flowered
Up, A Life With Brian
2LP color vinyl reissue
in stores 4/19

VIA PRESS RELEASE | London Records are to reissue Flowered Up’s debut album A Life With Brian for the first time since its original release in 1991, newly remastered and available on double LP and CD, extended digital, and limited coloured double LP on 19th April. Pre-order here.

Including new sleevenotes by Heavenly’s Robin Turner, the reissue adds their seminal 1992 single “Weekender” to the album package plus a host of previously unreleased tracks and remixes, including newly commissioned remixes by Everyone You Know and Beyond The Wizards Sleeve.

Upcoming duo Everyone We Know’s thrilling contemporary take on “Crackerjack” is available now. They comment: “Taking inspiration from some late ’90s Ibiza tunes and early rave stuff, this is our remix of “Crackerjack.” We were honoured when Flowered Up reached out to us for the remix. At first we weren’t sure what direction to take it in but the longer we sat with the stems it became obvious it needed something for the clubs and DJs.”

Beyond The Wizards Sleeve remix “Weekender,” the first remix in seven years from DJ/Producer duo of Erol Alkan and Richard Norris. They comment: “Flowered Up’s ‘Weekender’ is a work of a very special magic, of a particular time, place, feeling that you can hear busting out of the speakers. It was a challenge to take on such an iconic work, but we attacked it and pulled it into a few new shapes which nod to the original while taking it someplace else. Do you believe in magic?”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Bardo Pond,
Volume 9

Formed in 1991 in Philadelphia, PA, the enduring heavy psych specialists Bardo Pond have amassed a substantial and consistently rewarding discography on a variety of physical formats in the years since. A significant portion of that output is a series documenting assorted jam sessions; Volume 9 is the latest entry, available on vinyl with accompanying download card February 23 through Fire Records. The sounds captured will appeal to lovers of drone-friendly psych at its most raw and fans of stoner-sludge-doom at its most expansive. Noise hounds and La Monte Young heads should find much to dig, as well.

For this record, recorded by Bard Pond in 2005–2006 in their compound-studio-warehouse space The Lemur House in Philly, the band consisted of Isobel Sollenberger on flute and viola, John Gibbons on guitars, his brother Michael Gibbons on guitars and synth, and Michael Zanghi on drums and percussion. Known for his work with Kurt Vile and The War on Drugs, Zanghi is something of a guest collaborator here, deepening an already rigorous sonic approach.

Bardo Pond began documenting their sound with the self-released cassette Shone Like a Ton in 1992. Although Fire is the band’s current and longtime label (others have included Drunken Fish, Siltbreeze, Three Lobed Recordings, ATP Recordings, and Matador), much of their output has been assembled by the band themselves, in large part because they excel at raw outward bound abstraction rather than trad song variations and innovations. Structure is part of the Pond’s equation, but it never dominates and often fades into the background.

The band’s growth coincided with a sort of renaissance in self-releasing. During this period the CDr joined the cassette and lathe-cut vinyl as options for underground bands grappling with inspiration that exceeded the norms of music distribution. The series that continues with Volume 9 began in 2000 with a CDr titled (what else?) Vol. I. The first installment to get the vinyl treatment upon release was Volume 8 in 2018 (Vol. I, Vol. II, and Vol. 3 have been reissued on wax, all by Fire).

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/22/24

UK | Q1 snapshot: Vinyl growth in double digits as major releases achieve significant physical sales: It’s been another significant week for physical music sales with a chart contest between Idles and Paloma Faith. Based on the Midweek Sales flash, combined physical sales for Idles’ Tangk (Partisan) and Paloma Faith’s The Glorification Of Sadness (RCA) were around 25,000. Crawlers are chasing a Top 10 finish with 4,515 sales by the end of Sunday (February 18). While Noah Kahan’s Stick Season album reached No.1 on Friday (February 16) with streaming making up the majority of consumption (59.5%), chart-topping albums so far this year by The Last Dinner Party, James Arthur, Green Day, D-Block Europe, Shed Seven and Lewis Capaldi have all been powered by physical sales. While streaming now accounts for the vast majority of the market, physical continues to dominate the top of the albums chart. Out of the 44 albums that debuted at No.1 in 2023, 86% of them had more than half their chart-eligible sales made up of physical sales.

Shibuya, JP | Tower Records Shibuya is expanding its vinyl record collection by about 50 percent: The popular music megastore in Shibuya is currently closed for renovations and will reopen at the end of February. Shibuya’s iconic Tower Records flagship store is currently undergoing a revamp, with a grand reopening set for February 29. Aside from reshuffling a few sections in the nine-storey building, the renovated store will see a notable expansion in its range of merchandise. This is especially true of the Tower Vinyl Shibuya section on the sixth floor, which will soon feature an additional 30,000 vinyl records in its inventory to meet the demand of nostalgic music aficionados (we are in our Eclectic Grandpa Era, after all). Post-renovation, this floor will boast roughly 100,000 records in total, 40,000 of which are either vintage or second-hand. In a bid to create Japan’s largest retail space dedicated to classical music, Tower Records will introduce an additional 7,000 classical music goods to its inventory.

Lowell, MA | Vinyl Destination, a staple of Mill No. 5, to close by end of February: A few months beyond its 10-year anniversary, Vinyl Destination will soon close its doors for the last time as father-son owners Dave and Dan Perry look to their next chapters in life. As he sat behind the cash register of his small store, with records for everything from The Grateful Dead to Bob Dylan still filling the shelves and the walls, Dave Perry, 67, recalled when a friend of his had approached him asking if he would be interested in starting a business to sell vinyl records out of a storefront in the new small business space being set up in Mill No. 5. “I was not really a business person at all, but I went to look at it,” said Dave Perry, a former longtime reporter for The Sun. “I had always sold records at record shows or record fairs, something I had been doing for about 30 years. Every couple months I would go and sell some stuff, and it would maybe pay my bills, but it was never serious at all.”

UK | Behind The Counter Aims To Profile Your Local Record Shop: Record shops are a key important of the music eco-system. Hubs for free-thinkers and devoted music fans, conversations in vinyl hubs have led fans to jack in their day jobs and pursue their passions – sometimes even opening shops of their very own. Behind The Counter aims to profile these souls. Returning for a new season, the documentary strand travels across the country, celebrating the people behind independent record shops. Constructed by Record Store Day, Classic Album Sundays and Bowers & Wilkins, Behind the Counter highlights the passion, and the sense of community, that keeps these shops moving forwards. The new season kicks off with the wonderfully titled Van Vinyl in Dorchester, before moving to Hey Joe Music and Coffee in Essex, and the mighty Tough Love in St Leonards on Sea.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live Shots: Tool with Elder at Crypto.com Arena, 2/15

WORDS & IMAGES: CHRIS LOOMIS | Progressive metal juggernauts, Tool made a triumphant return to their home base in Los Angeles for back-to-back nights at Crypto.com Arena (formerly Staples Center). The band delivered a 2-hour masterpiece each night with the Tool Army packing the world-famous venue from the floor to the rafters.

For those who don’t know, a live Tool show is a sonic experience not soon to be forgotten including cutting edge music coupled with an incredible visual journey taking fans through each song in its entirety (via large video screens and killer laser arrays). Band members have little to no stage lights directly on them, allowing the fans to fully absorb the visuals and sound without focusing on the band members themselves, resulting in the ultimate band encounter that is truly second to none.

Tool is out on the road once again supporting their critically acclaimed fifth full length studio album Fear Inoculum, released back in August 2019, with this run most likely being the last in this touring cycle. Opening the show were Massachusetts based progressive/psychedelic rockers Elder. They dropped a killer 30-minute set that gave Los Angeles a sonic-boom of musical soundscapes. These guys are super tight and should definitely be checked out—a perfect fit to open a Tool show.

After a brief intermission, it was on to the main attraction, Tool. Continuing to open the show with the title track “Fear Inoculum,” the band took the stage and the song’s slow haunting beginning eased the crowd into the show as the song builds into an intense, pounding rocker as Maynard James Keenan was his ever-elusive self, prowling the riser behind the stage, belting out his vocals—sporting a blonde mohawk and blacked out eyes—sounding magnificent. At the end of the first song Keenan reminded the fans about putting their phones away for 2-hours and stay in the moment and to be connected with the live experience. Most fans complied with the request, and it was certainly a nice change to see a live show without a sea of cell phones in the air all night.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Live: Matthew Sweet at the Madrid Theatre, 2/9

KANSAS CITY, MO | Kansas City is a weird place to be the weekend of the SuperBowl Whatever matchup between the internet and Taylor Swift. It’s the same weekend the Association of Writers & Writing Programs has taken over the Convention Center and much of downtown. A suppressed but manic energy vibrates under everything like a passing subway train. Five days from now two teenagers will, in what is fast becoming an American tradition as deeply ingrained as the SuperBowl itself, shoot up a parade. But on this breezy, freezy Friday night, Matthew Sweet is playing the Madrid Theatre and it promises to be a pretty good time.

Sweet’s Midwest tour is the first after a long hiatus, but when I spoke to him in January he already had a live gig with Tommy Stinson under his belt and was looking forward to an outing with his new lineup, which includes Debbi Peterson of The Bangles on drums (Susanna Hoffs is also a frequent collaborator of Sweet’s) and John Moreland on lead guitar. Releasing alongside the tour is Sweet’s first live album, WXRT Live in Grant Park, Chicago IL July 4 1993, which draws material mostly from the same year’s Altered Beast and Sweet’s 1991 breakout Girlfriend.

Kansas City’s Madrid Theatre is already crowded when I and a few other rogue writer friends arrive fresh from ten or twelve hours of publishing shop talk. There don’t seem to be many other AWP attendees, but there’s certainly some demographic overlap, with a particularly strong showing of well-behaved middle-aged eccentrics cutting loose for the weekend and a healthy minority of precocious hipster twenty-somethings. A kid to my left who can’t be more than eighteen is wearing a Paul Westerberg 1993 tour tee.

Sweet looks and acts his age and it feels oddly punk rock to do so while Aerosmith and Madonna are still touring like nothing’s changed since 1987. He’s seated for the entire show, sporting a tweedy driving cap over shoulder-length hair, a graying beard, and an impish, dimpling smile. His voice, however, hasn’t aged at all.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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