Monthly Archives: January 2009

Well, f@ck.

JUST when I pronounce nothing on the horizon for ’09 comes Starling Electric to shut my f’n mouth up. Appearing Monday night (2/2) at Velvet. Who’s in?

Starling Electric – Black Ghost/Black Girl (Mp3)

Finally. FINALLY.

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 3 Comments

TVD’s Eleven Weeks of Record Store Day Vinyl Giveaways | Week 1!

Imagine if you will, you’ve got a blog based on…, oh – let’s say figs. Or beets. And your blog is designated the official blog of record for What the Fig Day. Or Beetin’ Off Day. It’d be a honor, right?

Well, it IS an honor for this blog which attempts in a small way to champion the efforts of the brick and mortar record stores and of the medium in general that is: vinyl–to have been designated the blog of record for Record Store Day, 2009.

But it is you, dear reader, to whom we owe a significant debt of gratitude for turning this wee blog, first conceived in pajamas one morning into something the cup of coffee that day never imagined–the blog of record for records. Or something along those lines.

So, from us to you, with help from some very cool behind the scenes friends–we’ve got eleven weeks of vinyl giveaways starting right – now! Each week of eleven; a different theme–and not JUST vinyl, but some pretty cool stuff in concert with the LPs–so, stay tuned.

First up for Week #1: The Swedish Invasion! And invade DC they do very soon. The quite percussive Wildbirds & Peacedrums join Lykke Li this coming Saturday (1/31) at the very historic Sixth & I Synagogue, and Loney Dear bring their brand of wistful melancholy to the 9:30 as openers for Andrew Bird on Tuesday, 2/3.

This week’s grand prize winner nabs both LPs and a runner up will take the Loney home alone. As always, grab our attention in the comments WITH your email address (!) so we can contact you about your triumphant win.

Make it funny. Or make it smart. About record stores. Or Record Store Day. Or vinyl. About us or you. Or something else all together. Just make it before next Monday (2/2) when we’ll choose our winners. (AND launch giveaway #2…)

Wildbirds & Peacedrums – I Can’t Tell In His Eyes (Mp3)
Wildbirds & Peacedrums – Doubt/Hope (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 5 Comments

TVD’s Alternative Ulcer

Ed’s note: Beginning today and every Thursday, TVD’s got a new column from an old friend:

Today’s blog is all about comebacks. My inspiration came from seeing 2007’s ‘Joe Strummer: The Future is Unwritten’ the other night with my roommate. At the end of the film are clips of Joe and Mick Jones playing together for the first time in 19 years at the Acton Town Hall Firefighters Benefit. We debated about what we would do if we were at the show – would we dance? Would we mosh? Would we stand and just stare at the stage trying to take in the history that we missed because we were babies when the Clash were at the height of Clashdom? Despite our disagreements about what we would do if we attended the benefit, we both agreed that it would be an amazing show. (Sidenote: am I the only one who had no idea Joe did a movie with Courtney Love and he and his family let her crash at their place for a bit? How does she do it??)

The next day I was discussing this concept with a friend. He said seeing bands decades after the height of their career (we’re not talking money here, but when the band was just really at their most amazing) is just not as good as seeing them back in the day, and it’s not really worth it. I disagreed, however, as I was a baby when most of the bands that have really influenced me were touring and making the music that would become the soundtrack to the years that would really form the woman I’ve become.

For instance, when Stiff Little Fingers announced that they would be touring again in celebration of their 30th anniversary, and playing all of the songs from ‘Inflammable Material’, I was skeptical (only one album? would people respond well?) but I bought my ticket as soon as they announced the tour. The show was fantastic. They played like it was 1979. The crowd ranged from youngins to old punks. So I always use that as an example of a band that has changed over time and does a sort of “comeback” tour (sure they never went away, but I think “comeback” is still semi-appropriate when referring to bands whose lineups have changed over time and who don’t tour very much) and still rock the shit out of the club.

However, as with all rules, there are exceptions to the “comeback.” Last fall it was announced that Bad Brains would be playing in DC on Election Night. When I was told this I think my brain might have actually exploded. I’m 25. I grew up overseas. I had no opportunity to see Bad Brains when they lived in DC, let alone any shows they may have performed since the early 80s. So damn right I was excited. I went with a couple of friends, one of whom is a huuuge Bad Brains fan. He and I discussed how excited we were. Bad Brains took the stage. Our excitement quickly waned. The whole band, except HR, were playing like it was the early eighties. Fast. Intense. Awesome. You know, before HR made those unfortunate homophobic remarks that pretty much solidified the beginning of the end for Bad Brains as we knew them. And here HR was, front and center, singing like it was a reggae show. He was singing slow and spacey and off key – like decades of drug use had finally taken their toll.

We kept our hopes up. “Perhaps HR is just messing with us!” But song after song after song everyone around us seemed to get angrier and more disappointed. At one point there seemed to be more people outside smoking than actually inside the club. Then they left the stage. Everyone expected an encore, because that’s what you DO when you play a reunion show. But the lights came on. The roadies entered the stage and everything started getting packed up.

I expected a riot at this point. People were p-i-s-s-e-d. My friend is still not over that concert. You can’t even put the letters H and R next to each other without him getting visibly upset. If I didn’t love their music so much, I think this show would’ve ruined Bad Brains for me.

LL Cool J once said “Don’t call it a comeback.” I say, if you’re going to only show up and do a half-assed show, don’t come back at all.

Stiff Little Fingers – Suspect Device (Mp3)
Stiff Little Fingers – Alternative Ulster (Mp3)
Stiff Little Fingers – Tin Soldiers (Mp3)
Bad Brains – Attitude (Mp3)
Bad Brains – Pay To Cum (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 4 Comments

TVD Remembers | John Martyn

From his official site, “With heavy heart and an unbearable sense of loss we must announce that John died this morning.”

John Martyn – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright (Mp3)
John Martyn – May You Never (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

TVD Remembers | Billy Powell

Rolling Stone has details here.

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone (Mp3)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Saturday Night Special (Mp3)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell (Mp3)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama (Mp3)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Freebird (Mp3)

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TVD First Date With | Blind Pilot

Portland’s Blind Pilot, the duo consisting of drummer Ryan Dobrowski and singer/guitar/songwriter Israel Nebeker are making some fine music indeed–reminiscent to us in the TVD office of early Turin Breaks, Grant Lee Buffalo in a way, and even The Shins might come to mind.

But the band name may be a bit of a misnomer when it comes to their thoughts on record stores and vinyl in general. We’re thinking they’re seeing quite clearly, thank you:

Ryan: “There is something very exciting about finding something new in a record store as opposed hearing it on a computer for the first time. There is definitely something to be said for the hunt. I think that is what draws me to Record stores the most. It’s like finding a great shirt in the bins at Goodwill is way more exciting than going to Urban Outfitters and finding the same shirt.

As far as vinyl goes I am a very new convert. In fact I don’t even own a record player. Yet. When we were just in New York, we were pretty tired as we had just gotten off of the bike tour. we hung around my friend apartment and listened to a lot of records. With a lot of the albums, even though I was familiar with them, I felt like I was hearing them for the first time. There was something that made me listen everything a lot more. It felt like more of an event than just something happening in the background. Also being a visual artist, I really like the larger album art.”

Israel: “These days the thought of having a vinyl collection, rather than owning all your music on digital, backed up, synced hard drives and portable devices, sounds like a major inconvenience. But that’s my favorite part.

I hear a song on my friend’s myspace page that I really like. I go to iTunes and download it and put it on my ipod. From here, when do I listen to it? Consistently, I listen to my iPod while I’m doing other things: painting, or at work, or riding my bike, etc. And it’s amazing that I can do that so conveniently. I love doing that and I’m grateful I live in a time when I can put on headphones and have an intimate relationship to music while I’m doing something very impersonal-while out in public.

But when I hear a song or an album or I’m at a show that I REALLY like-when I love it, then I go to a record store or the band’s merch table and buy it on vinyl. Reason being that I’m unable to take it everywhere. I’m unable to let it distract me or let the world distract from it. The only place I can listen to it is very specific. It requires the labor of taking out a physical disk, holding it by the edges, keeping my player and all the records clean. It even requires me to say that I’m devoting the next 20 minutes at least to listening to this side of the album. All these things that require effort by me are the most important part. I’m not doing them for nothing, but rather, each task is a way of giving to the music and giving to the person who made it. Everybody in some sense wants to feel this when art resonates with them. We don’t just want to experience it one way. We want to give back to the conversation. So to me, owning music on vinyl makes it more valuable and makes me feel more a part of that conversation.

It’s a similar situation with record stores. Internet downloads might be the dominating seller in the market right now, but it’s so impersonal and so easy. I believe a person that walks into a record store, spends the time to look at new stuff coming out, feels all the tangible cases and sleeves of music, and has a brief conversation with the clerk about the album he’s buying-that person is going to open his ears a bit more when he puts the music on, rather than if he downloaded the album in a minute and thirty seconds off iTunes.

On top of that, vinyl SOUNDS better. That statement should be reason enough why vinyl will continue to be a relative format. I’m completely baffled why the crappy CD standard of a 44.1 kHz sampling rate hasn’t become obsolete now that everybody listens to their music on portable hard drives. …Yay vinyl.”

Blind Pilot – One Red Thread (Mp3)
Blind Pilot – 3 Rounds And A Sound (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

TVD Weekly Wax | Queen

Does anyone recall the phrase “deep cuts”? Most often used by classic rock DJ’s in the 70’s and early 80’s, the term refers to tracks on a record that weren’t the singles but put plainly, were the balance of an album’s content. As I heard it referenced recently, the singles were an invite into the world of the LP and the “deep cuts” were that glorious land you’d find upon arrival.

But in an era where merely the single and an artist’s personae take center stage, methinks the deep cuts have fallen off the radar for most performers because they simply aren’t needed. An artist these days needn’t delve into his or her or the band’s psyche to come up with more than the original statement, as our attention spans are now that narrow–and frankly, who really cares?

I mean, do you think the Britney tracks beyond the singles merit any attention? (Insert crack hea’ about the singles themselves.) Think Katy Perry has anything else on her mind? Fallout Boy? The Killers? There are exceptions of course, but I think you see the point I’m making.

Which brings me to Queen and something we’ll spotlight this week. Queen were obviously not at loss for singles, dominating the charts for years and years through various phases of their career. Yet they also maintained a strong level of artistic consistency throughout their entire catalog which we’ll delve into this week to underscore the ‘artist’ within the ‘artistic statement.’ And no singles – just the other stuff on the record.

Just cuz I think it’s important that it doesn’t get lost amidst the Britneys n’ shit. So, from Queen II:

Queen – Father To Son (Mp3)
Queen – Nevermore (Mp3)
Queen – Funny How Love Is (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

TVD Plugs | For the Week of January 26, 2009

What to do with all of those email alerts we get that we simply can’t do justice throughout the week? Why, it’s condense them right here in our weekly bulletin board, ‘plugs.’

We don’t care where you are or what city you’re in–if you’ve got something you wanna promote or think we should be listening to or seeing or reading, this is the place to put it. Got a band? A photo exhibit? DJing some place? A good cause worth promoting? This is the spot for it. (And if you’ve checked that little widget waaay down there bottom left, this is a global forum, indeed.)

We’ll be posting what lands in our in-box right here daily as well as welcoming your tips, and we’ll be refreshing it once a week to stay on top of what we’re both up to.

So, clue us in right here in the comments section to these posts. Weekly.

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 2 Comments

Obama’s Secret Record Collection

Inside the White House Record Library
When Barack Obama moved into the White House on January 20th, he gained access to five chefs, a private bowling alley — and a killer collection of classic LPs. Stored in the basement of the executive mansion is the official White House Record Library: several hundred LPs that include landmark albums in rock (Led Zeppelin IV, the Rolling Stones’ Let It Bleed), punk (the Ramones’ Rocket to Russia, the Sex Pistols’ Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols), cult classics (Captain Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, the Flying Burrito Brothers’ The Gilded Palace of Sin) and disco. Not to mention records by Santana, Neil Young, Talking Heads, Isaac Hayes, Elton John, the Cars and Barry Manilow.

During the waning days of the Nixon administration, the RIAA, the record companies’ trade group, decided the library should include sound recordings as well as books. In 1973, the organization donated close to 2,000 LPs. The bad news: The selection was dominated by the likes of Pat Boone, the Carpenters and John Denver. In 1979, legendary producer John Hammond convened a new commission to update the list for the hipper Carter administration. “They felt they needed to redress some of the oversights that might have taken place the first time around,” says Boston music critic and author Bob Blumenthal, who was put in charge of adding 200 rock records to the library.

At the commission’s first meeting, Blumenthal brought up Randy Newman’s thorny dissection of Southern culture, Good Old Boys, to determine what restrictions the panel might face. “That was exhibit A,” Blumenthal says. “And I was told, ‘Oh, the president loves that album! Go ahead!’ ” So Blumenthal and his advisers — including Paul Nelson, then Rolling Stone’s reviews editor — compiled a list to reflect “diversity in what was going on in popular music.” They picked the Kinks’ Arthur for its “theme of empire,” and Blumenthal snuck in favorites like David Bowie’s Hunky Dory.

On January 13th, 1981, the LPs — each in a sleeve with a presidential seal — were presented to Jimmy Carter at a White House ceremony. But the collection — placed in a hallway near the third-floor listening room, complete with a sound system — didn’t remain upstairs long. When Ronald Reagan took office that year, the LPs were moved to the basement. Depending on the source, the reason was Nancy Reagan’s distaste for shelves of vinyl, or the edgy choices themselves. A spokesman for Obama said it was too early to comment on whether the president would revive the library. But Obama may be pleased to learn that at least a few of his favorite albums — Bob Dylan’s Blood on the Tracks, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run — are there if he wants them on pristine slabs of vinyl.
(Via Rolling Stone)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 2 Comments

Record Store Day sponsoring ‘Buddy Holly Lives!’ festival at Vintage Vinyl to raise money for Parkinson’s research

Record Store Day, presented by a consortium of independent music retailers spanning the United States and overseas with hundreds of store locations, will be sponsoring Buddy Holly Lives on January 31st, 2009. Vintage Vinyl Records will host “Buddy Holly Lives,” a live in-store concert event.

The free concert will seek to raise money for the Light of Day Foundation, a charitable organization dedicated to finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. The event begins at noon and is expected to run until about 5 PM.

The performers, including celebrated NY rocker Willie Nile, Columbia recording artist Nicole Atkins, Pat Dinizio, lead vocalist of the Smithereens, MTV featured artists Locksley and more, will each perform their favorite Buddy Holly tunes to celebrate the life of the rock legend and commemorate the 50th Anniversary of his tragic plane crash. The event will take place on the Vintage Vinyl in-store stage.

Vintage Vinyl Records is an independently owned and operated records store in NJ since 1979. To learn more about this event, visit and Location: Vintage Vinyl Records, 51 Lafayette Road Fords, NJ 08863

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Love You Till Friday | Sal Go on TVD

Ed’s Note: Today marks a new wave of Fridays here at TVD. Sal Go joins us this morning as she will each week with her own soapbox ‘Love You Till Friday.’ We’d introduce you to her, but she does a fine job of that herself:

I’m pretty excited to be a contributor to someone else’s blog. As a wanna-be journalist, this is a big step for me. Now the trick is to write something that you, The Vinyl District Reader, actually wants to read, and doesn’t just glaze over on your daily RSS scroll. There’s no formula to follow, so I’m just going to dive in with a brief description on what I think I have to offer.

Like you, I am in love with the format. I am in love with the idea of vinyl and the value a tangible form gives to music with it’s art and execution. I love the 7″, the 12″, the 10″ and all inches in between. I love that vinyl records remain the choice output as far as underground music goes and even that it’s getting mainstream attention in a real way (/end soapbox).

I am not a serious collector/music nerd, for I can’t tell you who played what wearing which color pants on the B-Side of some obscure limited edition of your favorite band’s side project–I don’t know about this shit, and I don’t care. (Not even enough to Google it.) I just really love music, I love going to shows and supporting bands that I like.

HOWEVER, my goal here is not catered to the detail oriented. This is for the no bullshit, punk/rockandroll/garage/underground/ show goer, an evangelist if you will. I’ll do record or show reviews, and I’ll try to highlight some lesser known bands, especially if they are going to be in the area anytime soon. Why? Because this seems to keep happening to me: Paul Collins Beat, (formerly of the Nerves) will be playing at the Talking Head in Baltimore on Monday, February 2nd.
Monday, of course, because who wants to play this area on Friday? But in even better news, Gentlemen Jesse and his Men are touring with them. G. Jesse had a sensational debut 7″ ‘I Don’t Wanna Know’, and has since put out a self titled LP on Douchemaster Records. It’s a well written, solid, hook-driven power pop album that you will love if you love bands like the Nerves, The Exploding Hearts, The Modern Lovers… And there’s something both tough and sweet about his voice that embeds the song into your brain, so that you’re singing the chorus’ all day whether you like it or not. If you don’t have to get up early, (or even if you do but really don’t care about sleeping vs. good music) I suggest checking them out.

Oh yeah, and I lied earlier, because I totally Googled to find out where the apostrophe goes in Paul Collins Beat. (I still don’t know.)

Paul Collins Beat – Helen (Mp3)
Gentlemen Jesse and his Men – I Don’t Wanna Know (Mp3)
Gentlemen Jesse and his Men – You Don’t Have To (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 2 Comments

TVD First Date With | Pride Tiger

It’s safe to say that the Pride Tiger LP ‘The Lucky Ones’ was on super heavy rotation all throughout last year AND it’s safe to say these guys have a love for Thin Lizzy that’s pretty damn apparent. So, there’s no better week when we’re going through the Lizzy back catalog to get the boys back on the blog and on the record – about records. We caught up with Bob Froese, PT guitarist for his take:

“We’re really into the community of it all, that’s how we started this band, it was a bunch of guys who spent way to much money on vinyl, we’re fucking stoked on finding some obscure music from the past, and then wanting to share it. We are also into it for the chase and the catch, its a high when you get your hands on something rare, or for a deal, or in good condition etc. There is gold everywhere you just have to be willing to look. Some would argue, but we feel that music sounds best in this format, and is the way the artist would want you to hear it.”

Pride Tiger – Fill Me In (Mp3)
Pride Tiger – The Lucky Ones (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

TVD Ticket Giveaway | The Dig at The Red and Black, Saturday, January 24th

In a new year when our overarching mantra is ‘Just the Good Shit…’ TVD’s proud to present the first of many giveaways we have lined up for the coming 365: NYC’s The Dig, this very Saturday (1/24) at The Red and The Black, appearing with Danni Rosner, House of Echo, and Collider.

The Dig have recently opened up for Longwave in New York City at the Bowery Ball Room, for Little Joy (Fabrizio Moretti from the Strokes) at Maxwells in Hoboken, NJ, and Girl Talk at Trinity College in CT. They were also filmed live on Fox 5’s Fearless Music Television and they’ll be airing the band throughout the year. They’ve spent time in the studio with Bryce Goggin (Pavement, The Breeders, Ramones) behind the board, and now they make their way down south to DC this Saturday night to add some additional hues to The Red and The Black.

TVD’s hearing a canny mix of bands such as Spoon, Wilco, Squeeze, and even a little Neil Finn between the groves. Let us know what you’re hearing in the comments and we’ll choose a winner for a pair of tickets this Friday!

The Dig – She’s Going To Kill That Boy (Mp3)
The Dig – Pennitentiary (Mp3)

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TVD Weekly Wax | Thin Lizzy

In a week when we’re adding some much needed color to the swath of pale faces in the Presidential lineup, I thought it a fine time to recall Dublin’s Thin Lizzy and in particular, Phil Lynott who crashed the proverbial party in a similar vein and left an indelible mark of change in his own right along the way.

Some backgroud via Wiki: “Thin Lizzy were founded one night in December 1969 in Dublin, Ireland, when Belfast guitarist Eric Bell met up with organist Eric Wrixon in a pub and found that they shared an ambition to form a group. Both musicians had previously played with Them, fronted by Van Morrison. The same night, they went to see the band Orphanage, which featured vocalist Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey. Bell and Wrixon introduced themselves after the gig and suggested the four of them form a band together. Lynott and Downey were aware of Bell’s good musical reputation, and agreed with the condition that Lynott play bass guitar as well as sing, and that they perform some of his own compositions.

In the summer of 1970, Thin Lizzy released a single, “The Farmer” / “I Need You”, on EMI with the B-side written by John D’ardis, who owned Trend Studios where the single was recorded. The single only sold 283 copies and is now a collectors’ item. Wrixon left the band before the single’s release, meaning there was a greater share of income for the three remaining members. He moved to Europe before returning to Belfast, rejoining his old band, Them.

By the end of 1970, Thin Lizzy were signed to Decca Records, and they travelled to London in January 1971 to record their debut album, Thin Lizzy. The album sold moderately well but did not chart in the UK despite airplay and support from influential DJs John Peel and Kid Jensen.”

This week we’re going to delve the early incarnation of Thin Lizzy–the days of the group as a trio whose material was immersed in the country and culture of Ireland– long before the superheroics exhibited in the latter years. And if you’re just familiar with Lizzy’s latter years and the success borne by ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ and ‘Jailbreak’ and you’ll be for a few surprises from what was a very different band indeed at its inception:

Thin Lizzy – Honesty Is No Excuse (Mp3)
Thin Lizzy – Diddy Levine (Mp3)
Thin Lizzy – Eire (Mp3)
Thin Lizzy – Dublin (Mp3)
Thin Lizzy – Remembering Part 2 (New Day) (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

TVD Plugs | For the Week of January 19, 2009

What to do with all of those email alerts we get that we simply can’t do justice throughout the week? Why, it’s condense them right here in our new weekly bulletin board, ‘plugs.’

We don’t care where you are or what city you’re in–if you’ve got something you wanna promote or think we should be listening to or seeing or reading, this is the place to put it. Got a band? A photo exhibit? DJing some place? A good cause worth promoting? This is the spot for it. (And if you’ve checked that little widget waaay down there bottom left, this is a global forum, indeed.)

We’ll be posting what lands in our in-box right here daily as well as welcoming your tips, and we’ll be refreshing it once a week to stay on top of what we’re both up to.

So, clue us in right here in the comments section to these posts. Weekly.

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

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