Monthly Archives: May 2010

TVD’s The Ardent Sessions Presents: Amy Speace

Memphis 2009. I was in town from my then-hometown of Jersey City for the North American Folk Alliance Conference, a three day extravaganza of acoustic music, showcases and meetings and panels and workshops and late night (or early morning, depending on your perspective) hallway and stairwell jams. I was invited to Ardent Studios to play an acoustic set they would record for their “Ardent Presents” series. Having been confined to a hotel for days, it was nice to get outside, out into the bright Memphis sunshine and take a “field trip.”

I was definitely sleep-deprived, at 2am the night before having found a group of the best musicians around in a smoky stairwell, trading Townes and Woody songs. I think being half-awake/half-aware helped me when Jody Stephens pulled up to the hotel to pick me up for the session. When I was just starting out playing guitar, my college boyfriend, who was in a rock band, was obsessed with Alex Chilton and Big Star and the double CD “#1 Record/Radio City” was the soundtrack of my early 20s (and that to-be-doomed relationship).

“I’m In Love With A Girl” was the song that boy sang to me every night from stage. And there was Jody picking me up, just as down-to-earth and welcoming as you’d hope for from a rock star/studio manager. I couldn’t resist texting my ex, who sold his Gibson for a wife, 3 kids and a picket fence.

On arriving, I got a brief tour of the studio, got to meet John Fry and hear him tell of how Ardent began the studio in his family’s garage. I’d just finished a record with Mitch Easter who had started his studio in his mother’s garage. (Makes me start to think about the space in my own parents’ garage…, my father doesn’t need those racks of tools and the old bikes could go…). The entire staff of Ardent were so nice and welcoming and really enthusiastic about inviting a few folkies into their studios to perform. I felt like I’d been invited to a cool party, been slipped in the back door with the ghosts of greatness hovering above.

I walked into this great big studio. A few microphones. A table with candles burning. A stool. Nothing fancy, just vibe. There was a camera and a clock reminding me of the time. I think there were a handful of people just sitting on the carpet of floor of the studio in front of me. Like playing a show in someone’s living room—just me, the microphone, and the cross-legged audience leaning into my songs.

I actually forgot I was being filmed or recorded. It was just pure intimacy. I have to say, standing in that studio and singing for Jody and Rachel and the few others, I was thinking of all that music recorded in that same place, Isaac Hayes, Booker T, Big Star, Cat Power, their voices still hopefully carved somewhere into those wooden walls. It was really a special day for me and makes me want to get back to Ardent soon, to record in that studio, in that funky town filled with history and music and soul and good ribs and a river of mud and music seeping out of its cracked sidewalks.

The Ardent Sessions Presents: Amy Speace | The Vinyl District Podcast [76Mgs] (Mp3)

Enter to win Amy Speace’s ‘The Killer in Me’ 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.

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 2 Comments

TVD Spring Vinyl Giveaway | Jeff Beck ‘Emotion & Commotion’

For his first studio album in seven years, Grammy-winning guitarist and rock n roll legend Jeff Beck returns with an eclectic mix of tracks that find the guitar virtuoso accompanied by a handpicked cast of talented musicians, as well as several songs accompanied by a 64-piece orchestra and we’ve got the new LP, ‘Emotion & Commotion’ to give away to one TVD reader.

Bob Lefsetz recently nailed my thoughts on Jeff Beck when I saw him live 11 or so years ago:

“…You should have been there. To see Jeff tapping, putting Eddie Van Halen to shame. And the band was so locked in! The drummer was incredible and when the keyboard player showed his jazz chops during the interview segment, his versatility was astounding, like Jeff said, he could PLAY!

Yes, there was an interview segment after Jeff not only played songs from the new album, but “A Day In The Life” and BRUSH WITH THE BLUES! My all time favorite Jeff Beck song.

And Jeff had some interesting things to say. About how the records we love most were done in a fit of pique, in one take, how we’ve got all this technology today, but it actually works against us. And then he said artists repeat themselves out of cowardice. And that he started in ballrooms, where he never got paid. Ain’t that interesting, the best rock guitar player of all time (he said Segovia is the best GUITARIST of all time) started off playing for free and the hacks working harder at social networking than music are whining “where are the bucks?” And he ragged on the critics too. Saying he doesn’t win things. And when a questioner from the audience said that he plays slide in G, Jeff put him down to the point where the whole audience was aghast, then laughed. WHO CARES?

Yup, who cares about the wannabe. We’ve only got time for excellence.

And the most fascinating bit of insight came as a result of another audience question, another guitar player asking…why does Jeff no longer use a pick?

Because the great rockabilly players, the great Segovia did not. It gave you options, you could play triplets, and it was clearer than ever at this point that the man in the sleeveless outfit might be a star, but first and foremost, he’s a MUSICIAN!

What a concept!

What a concept indeed. Get at us in the comments to this post with your thoughts on JB and why you should take home this LP (with contact info!) and we’ll choose one winner from the best of the bunch next Tuesday (5/19) and mail the record right out to ya!

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TVD Recommends | KICKS! A Night of Rock & Roll, Punk & Power Pop at the Black Cat, Friday, 5/14

Kicks’ roots go back to POW WOW, which started out as a Rock n’ Roll Party held every Wednesday (and a few Thursdays) night at Felix / Spy Lounge in Adams Morgan. Adam, Sara, and Kim DJ’d. Joe tended bar. People got drunk…and it was magical. Pow Wow then appeared monthly at the Rock and Roll Hotel.

Now, KICKS! is found monthly at the Black Cat Backstage. It’s free. It rules. Kim and Sara, who are not sisters – thanks for mentioning the resemblance though – co-pilot the rock and roll party; Adam continues to inspires us from the West Coast.

KICKS! is a big old mess of garage rock, psych, 70s punk, powerpop, bubblegum, beat, shoegaze, the occasional classic rock or metal track, and whatever else we feel like playing through a Jameson haze. Like a phoenix from the ashes or a zombie from the dirt, Pow Wow has reared its ugly head again in the form of a podcast run by Adam, straight outta LA.

This month’s KICKS! is Friday, May 14. We hope to see some new faces. Check out the podcast below for a sampling of some of the tracks you’ll hear!

Thee Oh Sees – I Was Denied | Scientists – Last Night | Dum Dum Girls – Jail La La | Shocking Blue – Send Me a Postcard | Dead Boys – I Won’t Look Back

Kicks! May, 2010 Sampler (Mp3)

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Melissa Auf der Maur:
The TVD First Date

“The time, the place and the way you discover music, has a permanent affect on the way you remember it and feel it from that moment on. Just like falling in love or making a new friend- those first impressions sit with the relationship for good.”

“So to decipher my relationship with vinyl and certain albums in particular, it all comes down to the fact that I grew up in the album (and then, cassette) era. I grew up in the 70’s & 80’s and like the rest of us evolved into the now, CD and digital era, but my first impression of “MUSIC” was on vinyl…

Once upon a time, in 1969 to be precise, my mother Linda Gaboriau, was the first female rock disc jockey in Montreal, Canada. I was not born yet, but her record collection exploded around then, and I was born and raised on it. I always credit my mother’s record collection and her relationship with her generation’s music, for the reason I am making music today. The non stop soundtrack around the house, the amazing stories she’d tell me when looking at the album art together “Dylan. He’s the greatest poet of our time”, “Cohen: He’s the sexiest man alive” or the confusing stories about “the one that died”. Her connection with her generation emanated from those records, and I was sent on my mission to find my generation and my generation’s music.

The first album I bought with my own money, was “Head On The Door” by The Cure. I still listen to it, and it’s forever one of my favorite. My record player is front and center in my living room, and that is always the choice ritual and listening choice when hosting or having a party at my house.

My collection also includes a decent amount of those amazing 1970’s box sets. I collected them while thrift shopping across the USA in the ’90’s. Those are epic artifacts! Up to 7 albums in a beautiful sturdy box, with lots of liner notes, cool flaps and art work. The best one is the “Space Shuttle Landing 1969” box set with all the audio and news reports from the journey. The rest are mainly easy listening versions of old standards. Perfect background music, that you have to stay tuned to and flip!

I put myself through college as a “Cassette DJ” : The Bifteck St-Laurent is Montreal’s, now legendary, “Grunge” bar. An old Portuguese steak house turned broke musicians bar, that payed me and my friends 40$ a night to flip tapes from 9pm – 3 am 7 days a week. I lived in that bar from 16 till the day I joined Hole in 1994. There was always music playing and most of the time my picks. My mixed tapes were made from all my vinyl. Every month I’d set up my turntable and cassette deck to make my new mix tapes, then I’d play them on auto- reverse while I played pool and drank a pint of local auburn micro brew…..

Vinyl is the at the absolute core of everything music in my life.

Of course we all got distracted by CD’s for a while, and I have a massive collection still not entirely digitized. I still to this day don’t buy MP3s, I usually buy it on CD, because I still need to read the liner notes. Who engineered? Who are the writers? Most of my listening time is in the car listening to CDs and in my living room most often albums.

However, dear reader, it’s worth mentioning this recent music “discovery” I made. This past weekend at my friend Steve’s birthday / housewarming party, while everyone was in the backyard, I entered the empty living room while someones iPod was on shuffle. Led Zepplin’s “Kashmir” came on… it stopped me in my tracks, and I sat in the middle of the floor, and in a strange psychedelic way, I re-discovered that song, and cried (yes it’s true) out of my love of music. The next morning back at my house, I went down to my record collection, found my vinyl copy of it. It’s the high quality, double album, long play version, with only two songs per side… and I cranked Kashmir.

I must tell you dear Vinyl District… That song remained the same… as good digital, as it is analogue. Music CAN transcend all physical realities, even though vinyl is the coolest format. I Love Music.

Thanks for listening….”
—Melissa Auf der Maur
May 2010

P.S. My new record OUT OF OUR MINDS is available exclusively at my website!

Posted in The TVD Storefront | 3 Comments

TVD Live at Noon Today (EST): The Joy Formidable & The Dig

The Joy Formidable – Whirring (Mp3)

The Dig – You’re Already Gone (Mp3)

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The Steelwells’ Vinyl District Takeover!

I was holed up a couple of nights back at TVD HQ, jesus juice in a tumbler to one side, when a note zipped into the email box – some guy wants me to hear this band he thinks I’d like. Now, the difference with this email in contrast to the many daily was that it was just from some dude singing the praises of a band. Nothing more. No sell job. Just ‘methinks you’ll like.’


…and I did, so much so that Fullerton, CA’s The Steelwells are hanging out with us this week. —Ed.

“It’s hard to imagine we started this thing almost three years ago. Billy, Andrew, Robbie, and our founding drummer Brian (as well as our current drummer Jon) all grew up playing music together. I, on the other hand, am the outsider to this crew. It took some time but I feel like I have been somewhat accepted at this point. All of us were born and raised in Southern California and I think the music does tend to reflect our surroundings.

Our current EP Shallow on the Draft in hindsight draws on some of our Californian influences like The Beach Boys, Calexico, CCR, Jeff Buckley, Pavement, The Rentals, and Starflyer 59 and on and on really. I definitely grew up loving Elvis Costello, The Beatles, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Van Morrison, Frank Sinatra (the whole damn rat pack really). The list gets long. When asked to define our sound or give our influences we tend to get overwhelmed by the question. If I had to define our sound with a gun to my head I think I would have to just say it’s kind of a sweet and sour indie dish. Hopefully the gunman would get confused and hungry at the same time. What I can say is we do our best to make it honest both musically and lyrically.

Since our record release back in October at The House of Blues in Anaheim we have been pretty happy with the positive response to our music. We feel like we made the right choice to put music out there that isn’t trying to be anything other than a reflection of us. I tend to gravitate toward an artist that can dig around for something more from themselves and the music. My suggestion to anyone making any art at all is be honest and grateful. Right now we are writing and doing preproduction for our next EP. While we are very excited to put out some new music we don’t take it lightly that we owe it to ourselves to feel right about what we are making.

So that’s us in a nut. I hope you will check in this whole week while I try to dissect our bands influence’s into its various parts. I’m going to attempt to understand ourselves better musically since this is something we tend avoid getting into. Let’s just take it one day at a time and see where we end up.

I also thought it would be fun to have a little video contest while we are at it. The winner of the contest will receive two guest list spots at any of our up coming shows, a signed cd, a free t-shirt and stickers, as well as dinner with us. If I have time I will cook but more than likely we will go out for burritos. Either way you win!

To enter the contest simply send us a video of you, your friends, or your loved ones dancing to our song This Dance is Out of Your Hands. The band will vote on the best dance and choose the winner. If you’re from out of town you get all of the above and dinner when we tour through your town. We are going to work out the details this week and let it run for about a month. I will have more info as we go along here as well as a link to upload videos. Now DANCE!!!
—Joey Winter

The Steelwells – This Dance Is Out Of Your Hands (Mp3)

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TVD Spring Vinyl Giveaway | The Joy Formidable ‘A Balloon called moaning"

I imagine that it’s no surprise to any of you following along at home that if there was a new Joy Formidable release on vinyl, we’d find a way to get our hands on it and offer a copy of it on the blog.

Well, our Formidable exuberance being what it is, we have—and here it is—your chance to win a copy of The Joy Formidable’s EP ‘A Balloon called moaning’ which is getting its official US release today on Black Bell Records.

It can go either way when you grow up in a family of bootleggers and record collectors; you either catch the bug and join in or snub music completely. I was in cahoots from the start and absolutely reveled in my parents near library of vinyl, cds, cassettes and reel to reel. The vinyl section covered 2 walls and stacked on top were four large boxes of 7″ singles.

I decided that this would be the starting point of my listening habits, I’d try and listen methodically to every single in every box. Black Coffee in Bed, Say a Little Prayer, Sex Machine, Family Affair, Fire, Something’s Gotten Hold of My Heart…. so many brilliant tracks. I got quite far in the quest of going through every box; the joy and calamity of being an only child...”

That was Ritzy from our ‘First Date’ with the band last February.

Your task to win the vinyl copy of ‘A Balloon called moaning?’ Give us your backstory in regard to discovering music in general or vinyl specifically. The one that hits our sweet spot as posted to the comments section of this post —with contact info!—wins the EP. Simple, right?

You have until next Tuesday (5/11) to be suitably formidable.

The Joy Formidable – Whirring (Mp3)

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 4 Comments

TVD’s The Ardent Sessions Presents: Jeffrey James and the Haul

Jeffrey James and the Haul is the side project of Snowglobe drummer Jeff Hulett. Snowglobe was featured on MTV’s $5 Cover in 2009. —Ed.

Recording at Ardent Studios in Memphis, Tennessee with Jeffrey James and the Haul was an amazing experience that I’ll never forget. How often are you allowed to perform a live show for all of your friends for free? And at the end of the day get a copy of the set you just performed? Let’s just say I’ll always remember it and I brag about it regularly.

People all around the world know about Ardent Studios and I’m lucky enough to live down the street. When I got the call from Rachel Hurley to do an Ardent Sessions I was honestly surprised. At the time we hadn’t been that active and we were trying to finish up our second album “Ride the Wind Carnival.” I think Rachel knew that and wanted to give us an opportunity to get our name out there more, and in a unique way. We are forever grateful and reminisce about that show as a band quite often.

There’s nothing like inviting all of your friends to see you play and they all show up. It was nuts. I think Rachel was even a little bit concerned about how many people we had in studio C. I was very nervous at first because it was such an early and intimate show that was going to be recorded live. But once we got started and began interacting with the crowd everything was great. We even had a bunch of friends/fans in town from Atlanta and Chattanooga that truly relished the opportunity to hang out in such a storied studio. And because it was an early show we were able to go out together afterwards and celebrate.

If I could play the Ardent Sessions again with the Haul or anyone else I would jump at the chance. It was such a fun evening that I think everyone enjoyed.

Viva La Ardent Sessions!

The Ardent Sessions Presents: Jeffrey James and the Haul | The Vinyl District Podcast [90Mgs] (Mp3)

Enter to win Jeffrey James and the Haul’s ‘Ride the Wind Carnival’ 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 Bubblegum | Shout Out Louds, May 2, at the 9:30

Sunday evening The Freelance Whales and the Shout Out Louds took the stage at the 9:30 Club. I had never heard The Freelance Whales before but was excited to see another band who once hailed from DC.

It was exactly the type of emo you would expect your fourteen year old little sister to enjoy, and the fourteen year olds that had made it to the front of the state were certainly enjoying it. Their long intros and vocals became monotonous. The chorus of ‘Generator 1st Floor’ was a series of “eheheheheh” that didn’t translate to their live set. It’s always a shame when someone’s recording doesn’t work well on stage, though, to their credit, they are still a young band and it was the first night of the tour.

I have been a Shout Out Louds fan since the summer of 2005 when I was wandering the aisles of a Best Buy in Arizona with my sister-in-law and liked the name of the band – Shout Out Louds. I hadn’t read about them, I was fifteen, I hadn’t yet started actively following new music, let alone new music from Europe, but I had been listening to The Cure – a lot. I bought three cd’s that day, ‘Howl Howl Gaff Gaff’ is the only one that I still listen to (the others were the Garden State soundtrack, and Anna Nalick’s first album – judge away). That album became my high school love life; I could relate each song to a different boy that I had had a crush on. I suppose this was the beginning of my catharsis. They played at the 9:30 Club in 2006, but it was a Sunday, and I wasn’t allowed to go.

They also didn’t curse very often, if at all, so when I was blasting it from my boom box, my parents didn’t mind too much.

In 2007 they released ‘Our Ill Wills’ and this time I bought it on vinyl at Crooked Beat a store my brother had first taken me to earlier that year. ‘Our Ill Wills’ again became an album that I could, and did (and still do) relate to far too many circumstances. ‘Tonight I Have to Leave It,’ ‘Your Parent’s Living Room,’ ‘Impossible’ and ‘Hard Rain’ quickly made it into heavy rotation. They played a second time in the fall of 2008, on another Sunday, and for a second time I wasn’t allowed to go.

When they announced their hiatus in 2008, I was wary of whether there would be another Shout Out Louds album. But after six months apart they came together with a new perspective and a new appreciation for what they do. They created ‘Work,’ it’s more mature and subdued than their previous albums, but in a way I have grown up with them, and it seems to have moved in the appropriate direction.

Seeing them live, on stage, with the lights and the fog was everything I could have hoped for. They opened with ‘1999’ the first track on ‘Work’. It quickly established their presence while inviting the audience to take part. They moved with few pauses through their set. ‘Please Please Please,’ was the first song they played off their debut album, and it became apparent who in the audience had been with them since the beginning – a lot. The movement only grew as they moved to ‘Tonight I have to Leave It.’ At least, the movement in front of the stage increased, I didn’t really bother to look behind me. They spaced the songs at just the right intervals for the crowd to dance, catch our breaths, dance, dance, breathe.

I had not yet heard the entire album ‘Work’ and was quite pleased that people were singing along to even those songs, even some of the parents and fourteen year olds. ‘Show Me Something New’ and the single ‘Fall Hard’ were among the new favorites. They closed their thirteen song set with ‘Very Loud’ a song that could easily be interpreted as being about a lost love, which is only half true, no one would guess it’s actually about the music industry.

They humbly left the stage and lingered just long enough before coming back to play a three song encore – all sing-alongs, all dance numbers. They began with ‘Impossible,’ Then ‘You Are Dreaming.’ They closed with ‘Walls’ the most recent single. It’s chorus – “Whatever they say, we’re the ones building walls. Whatever they say, we’re the ones that never say no. To get to know yourself you have to run away. Never trust anyone, run away, run, run, run.”- was shouted in earnest by fans and performers alike.

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TVD Recommends (…as always!) | We Fought The Big One vs. Velodrome, Friday, May 7 at Marx Cafe

Gang of Four. Joy Division. Wire. The Fall. These are all legendary names in the pantheon of post-punk that readers of The Vinyl District blog are hopefully well familiar with by now. But as many of us serious crate-diggers know, those artists are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to understanding this vastly expansive era and the like-minded eras that followed.

The monthly post-punk dj party “We Fought the Big One” was established so DC music fans could have an evening where this extraordinary music is remembered and celebrated. But as much as we champion the widely recognized legends of post-punk, we revel equally if not more so in drawing attention to those brilliant artists that never got the recognition they deserved. Ever hear of The Mo-dettes? How about 48 Chairs? The Homosexuals? Each of those artists recorded material arguably as brilliant as the aforementioned, more recognizable names.)

It’s thanks to crate-digging and great blogs like The Vinyl District that music fans can be exposed to such wonderful, unearthed gems. And really, discovering such songs and being able to share them makes djing even more fun and fulfilling.

When you get a bunch of die-hard record collector geeks together and they start taking turns playing records, it more often than not turns into a game of one-ups-manship. But not only do I not mind when this happens, I love it. I might be a tad biased here, but I believe it’s really the best kind of one-ups-manship—the kind where not just one person wins, but everybody does.

Earlier this year, The Vinyl District’s own Jon Meyers was guest dj at “We Fought the Big One,” and his sets were simply incredible. Track after track, he played songs that I either didn’t know or hadn’t heard in a long time. In some cases, he played songs from bands I knew, but the song altered my perception/opinion of the artist in question. It was pretty revelatory and I know the crowd enjoyed his sets too.

Jon’s djing put even more pressure on myself and Brandon to match or try and better the standard he set. Easier said than done. But I have to say, we definitely fed off each other’s picks, which raised the bar for everyone involved. And ultimately, it’s the denizens of the Marx Cafe that won out—they got to hear the end result of us putting our best picks forward. Like I said, everybody wins.

I am especially excited about the Friday, May 7 “We Fought the Big One.” With two notable post-punk parties in DC, it was only a matter of time before the djs got together to square off. Velodrome djs Scott Bauer and Ed Dudes have incredible music collections and are two of the most genuine and nicest music guys in the city. It’ll be great to feel that pressure of having to equal their selections. So with that said, let the Belgian-beer fueled showdown begin! Hope you can join us!
—Rick Taylor

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TVD 24-Hour Ticket & Vinyl Giveaway | Minus The Bear, Friday (5/7) at the 9:30

I go back to how this whole thing started. Let’s just put vinyl into people’s hands. They’ll recall how cool it is. “The size! The girth!”

…and then give ’em a chance to go see the band live. I mean, that’s the formula right? Authenticity.

And man, we have have a window to put both right into your lap. “The size! The… aw – forget it.

…it’s a TVD/Minus The Bear 24-Hour Ticket & Vinyl Giveaway!

Minus The Bear’s newest ‘Omni’ hits the store shelves and other outlets this week and the band plays the 9:30 this Friday (5/7). The confluence of events makes the giveaway math a real no-brainer, right?

But you’ve gotta act fast! You’ve got 24 hours to let us know why you should receive ‘Omni’ on vinyl and the tickets to Friday’s show. Plead your case in the comments to this post (with contact info!) and the best of the bunch will be awarded the tickets and the LP.

We’re choosing the one winner tomorrow (5/6) at 10AM – so, uh…act fast!

While you’re contemplating your brilliant contest entry, head here to grab a free mp3 form ‘Omni!’

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 2 Comments

TVD Fresh Track | New from Oh Mercy

There a facet to basic Marketing 101 wherein repetition reinforces the message.

So, yesterday I received this email:

“…a diamond among the many roughs, and in the case of Melbourne’s Oh Mercy it’s the gloriously Finn-tastic/Crowded House-y-ness that won us over from the first breathy chorus to the inventive, twisty verses.

This is music, my friends, that reminds me why we got into this blogging racket to begin with.”
—The Vinyl District

…and we stand by it.

Oh Mercy – Can’t Fight It (Mp3)

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TVD Spring Vinyl Giveaway | New from The Dead Weather ‘Die by the Drop’ 7"

Last Friday we streamed the new Dead Weather LP ‘Sea of Cowards’ right here on TVD and while you can’t get your hands on it just yet, we’ve got the first single ‘Die by the Drop’ b/w ‘Old Mary’ that yes, indeed – we can send your way.

Want to win the 7″? We’ll make it simple for you on this rainy, humid Monday in DC…

Leave us anything in the comments to this post (with contact info!) and the wonder of your very utterance will be a sufficient entry into the giveaway. How’s that for easing into the week?

We’ll choose the 7″ winner next Monday, 5/10.

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 14 Comments

TVD | Lil’ Triggers

Y’ know, the liquid soap in a pump.

I was lingering on it a bit longer in the men’s room at work last week.

Ever have those moments when you’re just ‘gone’ – beyond the manufactured mundane moment and say, back in the ’80s or something. (If you were around then and walking and all that.)

So, there in the gent’s room – the scent of the softsoap tossed me elsewhere; the bathrooms in my folks’ home, specifically the mid 80’s locale. Window open, sleepy mid-Spring breeze, a look over the hill into the neighbor’s yard below. The kids on their bikes and dogs barking. Plates being washed after dinner and the routine bumps and hisses of the home I knew for eons.

I try not to linger in these too much these days. I gots holes in me hearts from all the absences whose shapes haunt me.

Awake or in dreams.

Or, in softsoap.

INXS – To Look At You (Mp3)
Payolas – All That I Want (Mp3)
Tear For Fears – Head Over Heels/Broken (Live) (Mp3)
Simple Minds – Someone Somewhere In Summertime (Mp3)
English Beat – Save It For Later (Mp3)

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It’s Gold Motel’s Vinyl District! | Gold Motel’s Guide to Chicago

While the Gold Motel caravan sailed through DC and Baltimore last week, we still have a few holdovers in the can we want to share… —Ed.

Chicago is often referred to as “the city of neighborhoods.” No matter what neighborhood you’re in, there is a vast amount of culture and diversity in dining, nightlife, and retail. The following list is some of my favorite restaurants, bars, and stores throughout the city of Chicago, and they all come highly recommended from me. If you’re ever in Chicago, make sure to stop by and check them out!

Neighborhood: Lakeview
3740 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60613

For better or worse, hearing the “last call” announcement at The Gingerman Tavern has become a very familiar sound. I have spent many afternoons and nights at this Wrigleyville haunt, sipping on whiskey and hovering over the jukebox for hours on end. The Gingerman is an extremely rare establishment – a non-sports bar hiding in the shadows of Wrigley Field. The bar host one of the hippest jukebox in the city, and it’s always a pleasure to escape the herds of Cubs fans and step into a dimly lit bar where The Smiths B-sides seem to constantly be playing. Due to it’s proximity to Wrigley Field, The Gingerman does attract the occasional fair-weather Cubs fans, but for the most part The Gingerman is populated by bikers, art students, musicians, actors, and graphic artists.

The Gingerman host a full bar with an extensive beer selection that features over 15 beers on tap and more than 100 varieties of bottled beer. The Gingerman doesn’t belong in Wrigleyville, but perhaps the stark contrast between the mellow vibe of the bar and its surrounding cacophonous environment is the Gingerman’s charm.


Neighborhood: Bucktown
1822 N. Milwaukee Ave. (Between Bloomingdale Ave. & Moffat St.) Chicago, IL 60647

When I first entered the Film program at Columbia College, I heard a lot about a little video rental store in Bucktown called Odd Obsessions. According to my professors and peers, any rare, out-of-print film I could think of was most likely stocked at Odd Obsessions. Needless to say, they were correct.

Odd Obsessions is tailored to the needs and desires of hard-core cinephiles in Chicago looking for atypical cinema. Looking for a Nicholas Ray experimental film from the late seventies? Interested in rare interviews with John Cassavetes? Odd Obsession has it all – everything from low-budget smut films from the fifties to Italian horror films from the seventies. It’s imperative to do a bit of research on what you’re seeking out before stopping in. All the films are stocked alphabetically by the director’s last name, and the selection is often overwhelming.

Needless to say, Odd Obsessions is not the place to go to if you’re looking to rent American Pie or The Hangover. This is not to say that Odd Obsession is a gathering place for film snobs, but it is to say that Odd Obsessions specializes in stocking uncommon films and catering to those seeking out a cinematic experience that’s off the beaten path of your local Blockbuster.


Neighborhood: Uptown
4802 N. Broadway, Chicago, IL 60640

When Eddie O’Keefe (the director of Gold Motel’s “Perfect (In my Mind)” music video) and I first began discussing the art direction for the “Perfect (In My Mind)” music video, one of our first reference points was the interior of The Green Mill. The neon sign that hangs outside the famous Uptown jazz club even made it’s way into the final cut of the music video.

Upon turning twenty-one, I had already decided that my haunt would be The Green Mill. It had everything I was looking for in night-life: a vintage décor, a seductive ambience, low-key lighting, a sophisticated and well groomed clientele, incredible live jazz music, and the best gin and tonics in the city. The Green Mill is one of the few clubs I have ever been to where everyone is well behaved and respectful of one another and the musicians (don’t be surprised if you are “Shhhh-ed” by a neighboring table for being too loud!). Gangsters and celebrities haunted this nearly century-old club in The Green Mill’s early days. Now, well-heeled jazz enthusiasts and urban hipsters make up the scene. While the crowd has changed, the interior has not. The Green Mill drips with nostalgic character from the well-worn leather booths to the elegant, well furnished bar. Touring and local acts, from cool jazz to big band, take the stage each weekend; local performers play regular slots on weekdays. The Green Mill’s house band delivers some of the best live jazz Chicago has to offer, and their performances are always worth much more than the reasonable price of admission.

Neighborhood: Lakeview
3733 N. Southport, Chicago, IL 60613

The Music Box Theater is another Chicago landmark that made it’s way into Gold Motel’s “Perfect (In My Mind)” music video. I first started going to The Music Box Theater when I was in high school to catch original 35mm prints of David Lynch films, and I still go to this day.

The Music Box Theater hasn’t changed much since it first opened back in 1929. For a long period of time, The Music Box was a porno theater. After undergoing many changes in management and ownership, The Music Box is now both a historic Chicago landmark and the best art-house theater in the city. You’ll still see “twinkling stars” and moving cloud formations cast on the ceilings of the two auditoriums, and hear live organ music played in between films on the weekend. Cult, independent, classic and foreign films are shown on a daily basis on the theater’s two screens, and the theater often host various film festivals and one of a kind midnight showings. You don’t get too many opportunities to see a mint condition 78mm print of Vertigo, or catch an out-of-print sex-exploitation film like Telephone Book except at The Music Box. Also, the popcorn is made with real butter. What more could you ask for?

Neighborhood: Boystown
3700 N. Halsted St., Chicago, IL 60657

When summertime hits in Chicago, there is nowhere else I would rather be than on The Kit Kat Lounge’s patio, sipping on martinis and watching drag queens dance around the bar. This Chicago cabaret/restaurant features its own roster of divas: female impersonators who dress as iconic performers and lip-synch their tunes while strolling through the audience.

The lounge features a robust martini menu of around 70 concoctions, including the Angel martini garnished with a cherry speared with a white feather. The bright interior–an homage to the supper clubs of the ’40s and ’50s–boasts green mosaic tiles on the bar and on the floor, off-white booths and leopard and snake print vinyl chairs, and large projection screens on the wall that show art slideshows and famous film-noirs from the 1940’s.

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