Monthly Archives: April 2010

It’s a streaming Dead Weather vinyl listening party. (Yep, you read that right.)

Because we think you should constantly be in the know:

Starting Today at 12pm CST, Thirdman Records will begin a 24-hour listening party for the new killer Dead Weather album “Sea Of Cowards.” As we like doing things a bit different, this listening party will consist of a camera focused a turntable playing “Sea of Cowards”. I know what you’re thinking “Bor-ing! That’s not a listening party…that’s a screensaver.” First off…that would be a killer screensaver. Secondly, that turntable is located in the metaphorical heart of Third Man Records in Nashville (with eventual baton-passing to the hep folks at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles) and we will be doing everything we can to make this video feed interesting. Maybe a cat will crawl on the turntable and start scratching like Grand Wizard Theodore. Or maybe we get some special guests in house just to flip the records, in spite of our usual disdain for record flippers. Maybe we change it up and just start playing some disco records (not really). Or maybe you get a sweet sneak preview of an album that completely slays. Either way, the audio stream of the album will be coming directly from the record player you see in the shot. We’re calling it Screaming Vinyl Live because “Streaming Vinyl Live” seemed, as you the judgmental fan so clearly pointed out, sounded boring.

Read more here…and aw, hell. Watch it below.

Live Streaming by Ustream.TV

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TVD’s The Ardent Sessions Presents: John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives

I have been lucky enough to get to work in Ardent Studios on a couple of occasions, and I can attest that it is a very special place. They just don’t make ’em like Ardent anymore.

Usually, a studio falls under one of two categories: A.) funky and cool but a little less than state-of-the-art, or B.) top notch technologically, but sterile, with no atmosphere. Ardent Studios is the only one I’ve ever worked in which is both first-class sonically and incredibly cool, vibe-wise. You feel like you can get as artistic and esoteric as you want, without compromising any sound quality. That’s a very rare combination.

We recorded part of our debut album there, ‘Spills And Thrills,’ and we tracked completely live in the huge, almost church-like A-room. We wanted that “high ceiling” room sound on the drums, which would not have been possible in a smaller studio. I was in a vocal booth and my guitar amp was isolated with baffling, but other than that, we were all in the same room at the same time, cutting live just like at a gig. The intention was to overdub nothing but backup vocals, if at all possible. Of course, we did end up overdubbing a few things, but all in all, those tracks are still about 80% live. We could have done that in other studios, but certainly not with the relaxed, artist-friendly attitude you get from all the Ardent staff.

We live in an era when most recording is being done at home, on computers, and one of the arguments for this is that the artist is completely empowered and independent, and is not forced to sell an arm and a leg to pay for studio time. While this is certainly true, it is a tradeoff. For one thing, there’s no substitute for the kind of classic analog equipment and acoustically tuned rooms found at Ardent. And recording the way we did, with the full-band-live-in-the-studio approach, would be impossible to do in a home studio.

At Ardent, you feel just as free to get creative and take risks there as you would in front of your demo rig at home, but you can do it with a full band, live on the spot, and the results you will get on tape (or hard drive) will have all the warmth, richness, and complexity of the classic records we all grew up on. And no other studio gives you that almost mystical feeling of being close to greatness; if you’re a Big Star fan like I am, it’s always in the back of your mind while working there. (Of course, it’s hard not to think of Big Star when Jody Stephens drops by the session to say hi!)

For some kinds of music, you have to use a real studio. And for those kinds of sessions, I’ve never encountered a better facility than Ardent. It was an honor and a pleasure to get to work there.
—John Paul Keith

The Ardent Sessions Presents: John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives | The Vinyl District Podcast [103Mgs] (Mp3)

Enter to win John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives’ ‘Spills and Thrills’ on vinyl by simply leaving a comment, your name, and a contact email address in the comments to this post. We’ll choose one winner each Friday for that week’s giveaway which ALSO includes the entire Ardent Music catalog. (That’s just 2 artists at this point, but who’s counting?)

To hear more great Ardent Sessions please visit Ardent Presents.

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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District! | Dance Sequences: The Key To A Great Film

I have a strong passion for film and – like pop music – I acknowledge the kitsch and novelty of the medium as much as I embrace it. An example of this is dance sequences, which is like the film equivalent of having a spoken word bridge in a pop song; it’s a stylized technique that adds another layer of genre to the overall piece.

Film has a long history of illustrious dance sequences, most recently including Marc Webb’s Five Hundred Days of Summer (2009) and Tom Ford’s A Single Man (2010). Often, dance sequences become the most memorable scene of a film. They somehow always manage to steal the show, and leave a lasting imprint on the audience’s memory.

I have come up with a small list of some of my all time favorite dance scenes in film history.
—Eric Hehr













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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District Ticket & EP Giveaway

The seasoned TVD reader probably saw this coming from a mile away: theme week = sweet, sweet giveaway. . . and our stay with Gold Motel will be no different.

As we mentioned yesterday, Gold Motel’s playing two nights in our backyard and we’ve got tickets for both of them as well as the debut EP for two select winners. You’ve got your choice between Thursday’s (4/29) show at DC9 here in the District or Friday night (4/30) at M.I.C.A. in Baltimore.

We’re just going to ask you to plead your case in the comments to this post as to why you should win the tickets for the night of your choice as well as the EP. Let us know in which city you’d like to see the band (and leave us some contact info!) and we’ll choose a winner before noon on the day of each gig. Now. . . go!

Gold Motel – Make Me Stay (Mp3)
Gold Motel – Perfect In My Mind (Mp3)

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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District! | The Chicago Sound

Brooklyn, New York, Austin, and Nashville are all major musical cities with very recognizable musical sounds.

Chicago, however, still seems to be searching for a musical identity that reflects the city’s up-beat, classic, easy going nature. There’s a smart, quirky pop movement happening in Chicago and the rest of the US deserves to be let in on all the fun we’re having.
Here are the five songs I feel best represent the Chicago pop scene:

Sars Flannery

Empty Gun (Mp3)

The Yearbooks

She Did It With Her Eyes (Mp3)

This Is Me Smiling

Mixin’ Up Adjectives (Mp3)

The Hush Sound

Love You Much Better (Mp3)


Various Kitchen Utensils (Mp3)

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TVD Fresh Track | New from The Mynabirds

As much as I’m often loathe to admit it, Pitchfork was spot-on this morning with their review of DC native Laura Burhenn’s new release as The Mynabirds, What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood.’

A despite the title of the new track, you can count us among the cheer-leading hordes as well.

The Mynabirds – Let The Record Go (Mp3)

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TVD Ticket Giveaway | John Doe with Exene Cervenka, Thursday (4/29) at Iota

John Doe’s out on the road playing a couple of shows on the East Coast this spring with legendary X band member and former wife, Exene Cervenka, and the first date on the tour stops at Iota this Thursday night – right here in our own backyard.

As a founding member of punk monoliths X, he seized his rightful place as one of the most influential musicians in American alternative music in the 1980’s, clearing a path for the revolution in that genre that would take place a decade later. Since launching his solo career in 1990 with the dusty road-poetry of Meet John Doe, John has produced six stunning roots rock albums of frightening honesty and vision. A Year in the Wilderness, 2008’s highly successful EP, The Golden State, and his most recent outing with The Sadies, Country Club—a record of classic country covers—are no exception.

I know I could write a ton on X and John and Exene, so we’ll offer a pair of tickets for Thursday night’s show in exchange for your comment in the comments to this post in regard to the legendary duo. The best one (with contact info!) grabs the tickets for Thursday’s unique event. We’ll choose a winner by 9AM on Thursday morning!

John Doe – The Golden State (Mp3)

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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District! | The Thin White Duke

The Thin White Duke era of David Bowie’s career is by far my favorite Bowie alter-ego and persona. During this period, some of my favorite Bowie material was also recorded (i.e 1976′s Station to Station).

The Duke was not as eccentric as Bowie’s previous personas, nor as conceptual. The Duke was the product of the mass amounts of cocaine Bowie was taking turning this time period, causing Bowie’s personality to become as alarming as it was temperamental. At this point in his life, Bowie claimed to have lived off of “red peppers, cocaine, and milk.”
—Eric Hehr

David Bowie – Golden Years (Mp3)
David Bowie – TVC15 (Mp3)
David Bowie – Stay (Mp3)

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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District! | The Sonic Canyon

(The above picture is a single groove on a vinyl record magnified by 1000x. Unbelievable, yes?)

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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District!

I’m working on a theme week to come called ‘Lil’ Triggers’ – things that set the mind off on a memory as a result of a song or something.

So, I’ll tell you what it was with Gold Motel. It was the 70’s era George Harrison-esque guitar line in ‘Make Me Stay’ that well, had me lingering as the rest of the band won me over, post-sinewy 70’s guitar break. I settled in and was made to feel quite welcome, thank you.

Leading up to two dates in our neck of the woods— Thursday night at DC9 and Friday night at M.I.C.A. in Baltimore— Gold Motel will be hanging out with us here at TVD HQ this week as we turn the blog over to the band to work their charms upon ya. And of course you’ll have an opportunity to win tickets for both shows in our area as well as copies of their debut EP.

We’ll kick our week off with front person Greta Morgan’s Gold Motel 101:

Introducing: Gold Motel | When my other band, The Hush Sound, called an indefinite hiatus in the end of 2008, I immediately began plotting my next move. Literally, I moved across the country from Chicago to Los Angeles to write an album in the sun-soaked hills of Southern California. Figuratively, I moved through a variety of musical styles until I arrived at a sound I considered different enough from The Hush Sound, while remaining true to my taste. Listening to tons of Motown, Elvis Costello, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and 60’s girl groups, I honed in on what I wanted to create–a collection of summery songs that are both hopeful and wistful; an album that represents to me the essence of a carefree summer; a sound that is modern, while honoring the crowning achievements of pop music.

I returned to Chicago to record with good friend Dan Duszynski (of Chicago band This Is Me Smiling) and we tracked “Perfect In My Mind” and “Make Me Stay” in a few quick days. Soon enough, we wanted to make an official group to finish the full-length album with us and start touring. We teamed up with other This Is Me Smiling members Matt Minx (bass) and Adam Kaltenhauser (drums), and The Yearbooks’ Eric Hehr (guitar).

Gold Motel played our first show in December 2009, followed by a week opening sold-out gigs for Butch Walker, did a West Coast headlining tour, and are about to embark on an East Coast headlining tour with L.A. friends Family Of The Year.

Our full-length debut, Summer House, will be released on June 1st. Our music video for “We’re On The Run”, the opening track from Summer House, is being premiered exclusively through AOL / Spinner today at Hope to catch you all on the road!

—Greta and Gold Motel

Gold Motel – Make Me Stay (Mp3)
Gold Motel – Perfect In My Mind (Mp3)

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TVD’s The Ardent Sessions Presents: Keegan Dewitt

“When the invitation first came to be part of the Ardent Sessions, there was little to no hesitation. Of course, that’s a yes. Ardent had served as a birthing place for so many artists that I revere, love and swear by and I sprung at the chance to be able to spend an evening soaking up the aura of such a special place. In many ways, it was a secret excuse to get to peak inside such a hallowed place. We spent most of our free time wandering around the halls, pulling one another aside to point out cool pieces of the space. In many ways, the toughest part about our trip to Memphis, was feeling like we didn’t soil the grounds. How do you not feel a little silly knowing what has proceeded you in those rooms?

We walked from instrument to instrument, hammering out piano notes, running our hands across beautiful vintage gear. Studios are always a fun and childlike place, but this was different.

The most comforting part of all this, was to discover that Ardent was still filled with amazing people. People who really loved music, who were excited by it, loved discovering it, uncovering it. Each person we met that night had a fun glimmer in their eyes. They had been there so much longer than us and you got the sense that it was still fun for them. They loved that place, they loved what it meant to people, and they loved extending that legacy.

As I worked my way through my set, going from guitar to piano, the string players ringing through the room, the drums cracking, I felt like I was getting a unique chance to hear my songs differently. It was like picking up an old acoustic in a guitar store and playing something you’ve written or hearing your song being played in another room. Somehow, it feels different and fun and exciting.

My only regret is that we didn’t have a chance to stay longer. To actually deconstruct some songs, try them with entirely different arrangements. Somehow, using the space, and the experience, to create a truly unique, Ardent-inspired work. We’d love to come back and continue our conversation with that amazing, amazing space.”

The Ardent Sessions Presents: Keegan Dewitt | The Vinyl District Podcast [83Mgs] (Mp3)

Enter to win Keegan Dewitt’s ‘Islands’ on vinyl by simply leaving a comment, your name, and a contact email address in the comments to this post. We’ll choose one winner each Friday for that week’s giveaway which ALSO includes the entire Ardent Music catalog. (That’s just 2 artists at this point, but who’s counting?)

To hear more great Ardent Sessions please visit Ardent Presents.

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TVD Spring Vinyl Giveaway | Signed Ash Test Pressing 7"

Brit-indie stalwarts and NME mainstays, Ash have been hard at work over the past number of months on their A-Z series—a series of 26 singles released individually as digital downloads and 7″ singles, released and pressed as the band writes and records them.

In a NME interview vocalist and guitarist Tim Wheeler opined “We wanted to be the first people to do it like this. I think it’ll be great for our fans waiting every two weeks knowing they’re going to get a song and wondering what it’ll be like. It’ll be fun.”

Bassist Mark Hamilton also spoke of the merits of releasing in an alternative way, “We thought we’d come up with a different model where we never really had to be actually be away, that might work better. That was one of the reasons. We had the freedom when launching our own label as well, to try something different, so we’re going to give it a go. I think if it works, a lot of people might copy it.”

Out today (4/20) arrives the fruit of Ash’s ‘A-Z Series’ to date compiled on one CD for the first time. It’s the singles A-M, plus the first track released, “Return of White Rabbit,” and also four bonus tracks.

But this being the ye olde Vinyl District, we knew you’d want to get your hands on some vinyl to herald the release of the CD compilation, so we set about rummaging for something special to offer—and we’ve come up with a one-of-a-kind, signed 7″ test pressing of the newest single, ‘Dare to Dream’ — Single N. (That’s it up there in the photo.)

Want the one-of-a-kind Ash 7″ mailed directly to your place of residence? Get creative ala Ash’s A-Z series in the comments to this post (with contact info!) and tell us why you deserve to be the bearer of this special signed item.

One grand prize winner will get the 7″ and a free subscription to the digital A-Z Series. You’ll get the first 14 singles (A-N) now and will receive singles O-Z as they’re released, plus receive free exclusive bonus tracks. One runner up will receive the subscription to the the A-Z Series alone.

You’ve got until Tuesday, 4/27 to suitably impress us – now go get creative!

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TVD Recommends | The Amnesty International Human Rights Arts Festival: Dangerósa w/Tigertronic, Saturday (4/24)

We heard from our friend Will Simpson of Dangerósa earlier this week:

“…This weekend is the first Amnesty International Human Rights Arts Festival, curated by Norman Lear, the television producer and founder of People for the American Way. There will be a multitude of events, with dance, film, visual arts, and music from around the world being celebrated all weekend at varying venues in Silver Spring.

Dangerósa and Tigertronic are playing Saturday night, in the old Ceviche space above Austin Grill in downtown Silver Spring. It will be a cool place to see a show, and we have just gotten our liquor license set up for our portion of the event, with all proceeds from the door and bar going to Amnesty International. We certainly hope that people will come out and have a great time, knowing that their presence is helping to bolster the mission of Amnesty International across the globe.

In addition, admission is FREE and bar proceeds will benefit Amnesty International…”

If you’re on Facebook, more info’s here.

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It’s Chris Grier’s Vinyl District | The Record Store Day Interviews: Thurston Moore

“I like … anti-records.”

There’s a couple things you need to know if you ever find yourself record shopping with Thurston Moore: Drink plenty of fluids beforehand, wear comfortable shoes, and block out the whole damn day, because this dude is relentless. I don’t care how much you think you love record stores. This man will wear you out. And gawd help you if Coley’s along for the ride.

The upside is, whatever piece of vinyl you whip out, he’ll be able to give you a thumbs-up or thumbs-down, because he’s seen it, and will know instantly whether it’s overpriced, etc. The downside is that you will need to, again, plan nothing else for the day. Once I actually peeled away, got something to eat – like, sat down and got something to eat – and went back to the same store and he was still going at it.

Naturally, it was necessary to get him on the phone for this thing.

There is, I just found out literally 10 minutes ago, a Record Store Day youtube (below) which, uh, plows some of the same territory. Like the obvious “Dewar’s profile” what-was-the-first-record-you-bought question. But whatever. This one’s way better. Here at the Vinyl District NYC Bureau, we’ve surgically whittled 40 minutes of mobile phone blurt down to 12 tight minutes of more-or-less germane discussion. It took forever, and I can no longer stand the sound of my own voice, or make the CTRL+X gesture. But here ya go.


Chris Grier Interviews Thurston Moore | The Vinyl District Podcast (Mp3)

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TVD | London Stalling – One Man’s Personal Hell in Heaven

So, yesterday I’m G-chatting with Michael Kentoff, singer for The Caribbean, and he’s bellyaching about…well. …Let’s let him tell it… —Ed.

As anyone who knows me can readily report, I am a control freak. Acts of God should be manageable by some decent planning, iron will, and, if necessary, a tantrum of some kind. The Icelandic Volcanic Cloud epic has pierced every vulnerable space in my troubleshooting, problem-solving armor (or, if you’d rather, armour). If I get through this, I pledge to work diligently on conquering the elements, altering weather patterns, and manipulating time and space in a way that serves mankind and relieves me of stress (not necessarily in that order). Needless to say (perhaps), being stranded anywhere — even a city as fabulous as London — would test my me-ness and, I’m here to report, it’s an interesting test that I have both failed and passed. Interesting to me, anyway — I’m stranded an ocean away from home and have lost my barometer of time, mood, and entertainment value.

My wife Maureen and I had planned a quick UK trip around an academic conference she was attending and speaking at in Liverpool. I’m very busy at work, so it had to be quick. 3 days of time out of the office is what I allowed myself. It bummed us out a little because we really wanted more time to explore London, but work is work and we could always visit another time.

When we arrived at Immigration at Heathrow on Thursday, we were told we were one of the last flights in, which mystified us until it was explained that some Icelandic volcano (I will call her Bjork) spewed so much ash into the air that all UK airspace was closed. We figured it would have no bearing on our return trip the following Monday. Went to Liverpool. Slept on the train, drank beer and ate some crisps. Liverpool is a GREAT city and, meeting up with my friend Peter Cruttenden (attending University of Nottingham), we checked the old place out and had a few pints (of beer). Peter & I ran into a hen party at the Cavern, which involved about 30 girls and women wearing rabbit ears, matching black t-shirts, getting drunk, and dancing around drunker men who were happy to tear off their shirts and roll around on a grime-covered floor.

The next day, he & I toured The Beatles’ childhoods and learned about the history of Liverpool (dirty secret: the money came from the slave trade — Mr. Penny was among the most successful people merchants of his day). Had a drink with our wonderous guide Danny, made good friends with the Verger of St. Peters (where Eleanor Rigby is buried and Paul met John). Turns out he’s a Redskins fan and his father is one of the legendary coaches in all of English football history (Liverpool FC). I have a new friend in the Anglican Church, although I had to look up what a verger was.

When we arrived in London for our one day tease of the town, we soon discovered that we might have a little more time here than we’d planned. Our Monday flight was soon canceled and the soonest we could fly back is … this Saturday! That’s the best case scenario. Being prone to mania, I flipped out. Short on medicine. Trapped. Do we have a place to stay? Then I realized (with help from my wife) that the situation was beyond our control and we were in one of the coolest cities in the world. So: fucking deal with it. I re-filled my meds, which involved visiting a Doctor’s office, talking to the receptionist for 5 minutes, and promptly receiving prescription slips (without ever seeing a Doctor or showing any ID) for 25 pounds. Socialized medicine kicks ass! I WANT IT!

We watch Caps games on laptop from midnight-to-3pm and basically wander around London (magnificent weather) getting lost, alone and together. Might see some bands (Broadcast, Beak, our Hometapes labelmates Bear in Heaven). Maureen has talked me into seeing the new production of Hair. Important Important Important: We discovered that fish and chips is fucking worthless without mushy peas. What else? Our cab driver yelled “Go You Spurs!” out the window today. Why? “That was Noel Gallagher, ‘e’s a City fan. Tottenham and Man City are up for 4th on the table, so I gave him one. ‘e lives right around here.” I wanted him to stop the cab so I could slap Gallagher in the face (I am bigger than he is and make better records, so I have the right). I’ve spent much of my time here tweeting (michaelcarib) and buying records (naturally). The following is an Act of God/No Fly Playlist made up of the various odds and ends I’ve bought to keep the ADHD, anxiety-laden traveler even-keeled.

1. Brigas nunca mais – Joao Gilberto
2. You Belong to Me – Jim Reeves
3. Curves of the Needle – Field Music
4. Lily Pond – Vashti Bunyan
5. If I’m in Luck I Might Get Picked Up – Betty Davis
6. BBC 1+2 – John Baker
7. Carpet Crawlers – Genesis
8. Aaja Re Pardesi – Lata Mangeshkar
9. The Dynamites – King Tubby’s City Dub
10. Salisbury Plain – Shirley & Dolly Collins
11. Do You Remember Walter – The Kinks
12. Has He Got a Friend For Me – Richard & Linda Thompson
13. Set Phazer to Stun – The Time and Space Machine
14. Lover of Mine – Beach House

I have a full-on British accent and call everyone Loov. It’s frightening to be stranded, but I’ve always held that The Caribbean is an English group who happened to have grown up in the States, so I feel strangely at home. But, really, I’m dying to come home. I love and miss DC. Mo and I miss our friends, our cats, even our jobs. So, while we suffer terribly here in London, gather the above songs anyway you can, close your eyes, and say a prayer for us. Try to think of us eating Indian food, fish and chips with proper mushy peas, Thai noodle boxes, drinking pints of bitters, and pray for us. Hard.

Your Grounded Correspondent,
Michael Kentoff of The Caribbean

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

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