Monthly Archives: June 2012

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Carlsbad, California!

In 1976 to celebrate our country’s Bicentenial, Americans loaded up RVs and hit the nation’s highways. Gas was less than fifty cents a gallon, so we all went “to look for America.” With Independence Day less than a week away, I figured us Sidels would pile into”Francine,” my 2009 Prius, and head out for a good old American road trip!

Today the Idelic Hour beams to you from a hundred miles south of Laurel Canyon. Carlsbad was originally settled in the late 1800s by a famous sea captain looking for a place to rest.

Fuck me, I can really relate to old Captain Frazier. 2012 feels like such a mad rush—we’ve all been burning the candle at both ends, so it’s time for me to take a week, relax, and have some family fun!

The inspiration for this week’s playlist comes from my trusty iPod set on random. “Public Animal # 9”, track 2, side B from Alice Cooper’s classic School’s Out album. Wow, it’s been a long time but if you grew up in the 70s, this album was an absolute essential. With no exception the disc was the first to hit my turntable every summer. (OK side B was seriously neglected but…)

I saw the word animal and I could not resist doing a playlist of songs about…well, you guessed it. Cats, bears, birds, dogs, giraffes, bugs, wolves, and freaks!

It’s kooky, it’s fun, it’s Idelic, it’s Summertime, and I’m off to Legoland. Let’s trip!

The Idelic Hit of the Week:
The Men – Open Your Heart

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TVD Live: Fiona Apple
at Warner Theatre, 6/26

In an upcoming V magazine interview set for newsstands on July 5th, Fiona Apple admits that as part of growing up, “I became less inhibited. I don’t care about being judged.” 

This was quite apparent on Tuesday night at the Warner Theatre. A gaunt, muscular Apple, no longer the malcontent ingenue of her explosive debut Tidal from sixteen years ago, treated a sold-out and appreciative audience to an emotionally dense set that drew from her entire career, showcasing songs from all four albums.

Backed with a jazzy five-piece band, Apple left us transfixed with her powerful, still-sultry voice, beginning with “Fast As You Can” from her sophomore effort, When the Pawn… Of the handful of songs where her plaintive wails were accompanied by her grand piano under changing-colored lights, “Shadowboxer” was an early and obvious favorite. Expectedly, the set was punctuated with huge applause and a standing ovation. In fact, Apple delivered everything that was expected, and more.

Now grown up, the crying waif who shocked audiences in the late ’90s and early ’00s still has a defiant streak, but it is now better harnessed and controlled, tempered by maturity, even if there are glimpses that even though she is more comfortable in her skin, she is a bit weary at times. During “Sleep to Dream” Apple stomps a booted foot angrily, in a stance with hands on hips; at other times, she broodingly sings with eyes closed, perhaps to lovers not yet forgotten, dancing in memories, gyrating underneath the familiar feel of hands long gone; still other times, she sings to the corners of the theatre, coquettishly wide-eyed, gazing out instead of lost in her own reverie.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Henry Rollins at the 9:30 Club, 11/5

It’s that time again. You know, the one every four years when America finds itself drowning in political backlash on the eve of the presidential election.

Luckily, there’s a man willing to get out there and give the people what they want to know about the current political situation in the form of spoken word. His name is Henry Rollins.

Spoken word magician, former harDCore god, and total badass Henry Rollins is making his way across the country to every single state capital on his upcoming Capitalism Tour. From what we hear, the tour will not follow the guidelines of being a voting guide from an outside viewpoint, but instead will be more of an “unflinching quest for truth that’s sadly lacking in the profit-driven American mass media.” Yeah, America!

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Weekend Shots!

The summer heat has been blaring down on Memphis all week long. Luckily, this weekend will offer some cool tunes to take the edge off.

From the best of a good ol’ Louisiana tradition to new music from young rockers, this weekend is gonna have you chilling out to a lot of fantastic live music even as you’re cursing the summer swelter.

Friday (6/29) will come stocked with plenty of sweet treats. While simultaneously looking classy as fuck, CJ Chenier and the Red Hot Louisiana Band will be playing at The Levitt Shell. Son of Clifton Chenier, the “King of Zydeco,” the accordionist carries on the southern Louisiana tradition of mixing creole with cajun music. The guy is one hell of a show and has more style than Elvis in the ’70s. If you’re looking to have a good, light-hearted time, don’t miss out on this one.

You’re in luck If you were wanting to stay out all night and get crazy—Friday doesn’t stop at the Shell. Organic electropop outfit Fast Planet will be playing at The Hi-Tone Cafe. They’ll more than likely feature a hefty load of material off of their debut album Jes. Heavy ’80s throwback pop act Future Unlimited is also billed. The duo has gained attention for their authentic recreation of the synth blares and electronic back beats of the ’80s.

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Show of the Week: STAX Celebration, Wattstax Revisited:
40 years in the Making

Forty years ago, Memphis’ own Stax Records organized the socially conscious concert WattStax, featuring Isaac Hayes, The Bar-Kays, and many others. The event was coordinated to bring attention to the riots that occurred in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1965.

Although the Stax name dissolved into obscurity in the early 1980s, a new campaign to revamp the aging Memphis label has been making large strides. With the Stax Museum built and the label revived by 2003, the Memphis stronghold has shown that it’s still got its grooves. One of Stax’s modern efforts is the Stax Music Academy, an afterschool program giving Memphis’ youth insight into the music business. Celebrating the history the Stax name was built on, the Academy will be holding a 40th anniversary concert for WattStax at the Levitt Shell Pavilion, another hotspot of Memphis musical history (having hosted the likes of Elvis and Jonny Cash).

With WattStax being a perfect opportunity to drop knowledge and a little bit of history, the Academy aims to celebrate the event in hopes of imparting tips, tricks, and tools of the trade for their students to be successful in the music industry today.

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Weekend Shots!

With temperatures pushing 100 degrees every day, the dog days of summer are here more than a month early. But at least it’s a bit cooler at night. Here are some musical suggestions to get you through the weekend.

Tonight, Foundation Free Fridays continue at Tipitina’s with the Brass-a-Holics opening for Walter “Wolfman” Washington. Winston Turner, a former member of the Soul Rebels, leads the band. They funk up brass band sounds with a full rock lineup.

Wolfman needs no introduction to regular readers of TVD. The last time I heard him perform, his show started a little slow befitting his age, but by the end of the set he was on fire like in days of old.

Also, tonight, one of New Orleans leading lights on the rock scene, the Revivalists, makes a now-rare hometown appearance at One Eyed Jack’s. The band has been touring like maniacs behind their latest recording, which was produced by Ben Ellman of Galactic fame. Ellman is also Trombone Shorty’s producer, which indicates the company that the Revivalists keep. Read More »

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Touch Vinyl opens
in West L.A.

Westside vinyl fanatics will no longer have to make the arduous trek across town to buy new releases. Touch Vinyl specializes in new and used records, with a focus on independent labels. Their grand opening July 1st doubles as a benefit for breast cancer charity Beats for Boobs.

The store will host a full roster of live acts throughout the day, including Alicia Murphy, One High Five, Nacosta, Eyes Lips Eyes, and The Health Club. We spoke with owner Sebastian Mathews as he prepared for opening week.

What inspired you to open a record store?

I only got into vinyl two and a half years ago. I was a complete digital kid before that – I worked at the Apple store, and have collected just about every Apple product there is. Randall Cooley at Optimal Enchantment got me into my first turntable, a Pro-Ject 1.3. I started collecting, and it became an addiction very quickly.

I went on a trip to Scandinavia, and every city I went to in Iceland, Denmark, and Sweden – the people aren’t particularly warm, but if you go to the record stores you immediately find this community, and it’s a universal language. I really dug the stores there. They all had different feels and catered to specific communities. I also liked that you could have three or four record stores on the same block. They served different types of listeners and had different vibes. My favorites were the homey ones where if you stuck around for a while, you’d be talking music eventually, and getting an espresso from the owner.

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TVD Live: Vans Warped Tour, AT&T Park, 6/23

The Warped Tour rolled into downtown San Francisco for the first sold out show on the 2012 tour. The 18th annual Summer festival sponsored by Vans began as a showcase for punk rock bands, but has slowly turned into a pop punk, dance rock fest with a touch of hardcore and metal.

Now, this is not really my idea of a fantastic way to spend a Saturday afternoon in San Francisco, but there was one or two bands on the bill that I really wanted to see—one of them being Rise to Remain who are on the verge of becoming the next big metal band from the UK and garnering praise from Kerrang and Metal Hammer who are praising the band’s raw, metal sound. Unfortunately, I missed them because they went on ridiculously early.

The one thing about the Warped Tour that continually bugs fans is that they announce the band’s set times early that morning so you have no idea when any number of the 50 plus bands are playing that day. Even the world of social media does not help, as no one tweeted out the damn set times all day. Very frustrating.

With that being said, there were some truly stand out moments for me that definitely made it worth attending. Let’s take a look at the six bands that I did get to see perform.

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Festival Fast Talk with: The Weeks, Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, and Big Gigantic

In the midst of big summer festival rumblings, we were able to grab conversations with The WeeksSister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds, and Big Gigantic to round out another edition of Festival Fast Talk.

The Weeks are a young alternative rock band who in their early twenties have already released three full length albums and two EPs. They’ll be re-releasing last year’s Gutter Gaunt Gangster EP later this year. I got a chance to lob a few questions at The Weeks after they visited Bonnaroo.

You guys aren’t far down the Tennessee trail from us here in Memphis, but I hear you’re transplants; how is the volunteer state treating you?

It’s a faster pace than in the Mississippi Delta, but we’re acclimating nicely. We knew from the outset that we weren’t trying to become the next big Nashville band. This town is so super saturated with music that to try to take it all over is too big of a mountain to climb. I can see how it would be overwhelming to think of that much competition just in the town you live. We’ve just used the scene here to draw inspiration from. Back home in Mississippi, you are your own barometer, but here you can find a new favorite band every week. Between Turbo Fruits, Pujol, D. Watusi, Diarrhea Planet, and a boatload of other awesome bands, Nashville is home to a lot of incredible artists right now.

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Mardi Gras Indian Hall of Fame Induction set for Sunday, 7/29

For the past fourteen years, Big Queen Cherise Harrison-Nelson has presented an annual ceremony honoring members of the Mardi Gras Indian nation. It takes place from 3-4:30 PM at the Ashe Cultural Arts Center.

The event has grown into one of the most exciting awards shows ever seen in New Orleans. Dozens of Mardi Gras Indians, some in street clothes, others resplendent in their handmade suits, arrive ready to demonstrate the age old traditional songs and dances.

Harrison-Nelson, who is the daughter of the legendary Big Chief Donald Harrison, co-founded the Hall of Fame in 1998 along with the principal, Roslyn Smith, at the elementary school where she was teaching at the time. The ceremonies in those pre-Katrina days took place in the school’s courtyard. A couple of hundred little kids in their uniforms stared wide-eyed as the Indians did their thing. It was quite a sight to see.

This year’s inductees have already been announced, but that’s no reason to skip the ceremony.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Lita Ford, Living Like a Runaway

In part 2 of our interview with Lita Ford, she rattled off some of her favorite guitarists. That got us thinking — who is your guitar hero? 

TVD: Let’s talk about some of your biggest influences as a guitar player.

Lita: Richie Blackmore. Highway Star, I gotta say – everybody knows that album. That was a real big influence on me. I had Richie Blackmore posters hanging on my bedroom walls. He was just God as far as I was concerned.

I was a big fan of Tommy Iomi of Black Sabbath, who I later became engaged to, which was really wild. Their very first album was huge. I mean, I copped all his licks. Everything that guy played I learned from. And then I met him and I became engaged to him – it was really wild. What was wild about it was that it was the first band I’d seen play live. I’d never seen anybody before, so it was my first rock concert.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Velvet Underground, Squeeze

Contrary to what’s sometimes published, the studio legacy of The Velvet Underground didn’t end with 1970’s Loaded. No, it culminated with what many consider to be an abomination, an offense in the annals of one of the greatest bands to ever transcend and redefine rock’s limitations. The record is 1973’s Squeeze, and despite music that’s inescapably lackluster there is a case to be made for bringing the album out of the shameful shadows that persist in shrouding its existence.

For many VU fans, Squeeze exists on the same plane as that uncle who’s been sent up the river for crimes that nobody in the family feels comfortable discussing. Other Velvets fanatics LLLOOOVVVE to talk about this understandably scarce LP, mostly because it helps to flesh out theories over what made the band so exceptional, speculations that often vary greatly from person to person. Because if The Velvet Underground are the ornery granddaddy of an often sorta suspect category known as “cult bands,” unlike many of the groups awarded with this stature there is no consensus on what is VU’s best LP, or for that matter what is even their finest era.

And this seems to have been a gradually evolving process. Around 1987, when I first began listening to the Velvets in earnest, the older heads with whom I spoke (almost always inside the welcoming walls of record stores), seeking guidance on this somewhat daunting entity, were essentially divided between which of the band’s first two records, The Velvet Underground and Nico and White Light/White Heat, was best. This is to say that while surely considered valuable, the post-John Cale material was definitely esteemed as lesser.

But a new day was dawning. As the arrival of groups like The Wedding Present and Galaxie 500 made clear, a generation of young musicians had come of age subscribing to the notion that the music produced for the band’s self-titled third LP was the true apex of the Velvets’ achievement. This phenomenon was aided by VU and Another View, both compilations fairly fresh in the racks and often easier to obtain than the actual full-length studio records.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio.

You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

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Lita Ford: The TVD Interview, Part Two

Metal icon Lita Ford is on a roll. She’s back with her eighth studio album, Living Like a Runaway, an album that’s unmistakably Lita. It’s brash, guitar-driven hard rock, lots of F-you attitude, and unabashedly personal. Its release coincides with her massive “Rock of Ages” tour with Def Leppard and Poison, which will take Lita across the US this summer. When we chatted with Lita, we got the low-down on the new record, life on the road, who her guitar heroes are, and even the status of a possible Runaways reunion.

Part 1 of the TVD Interview can be found here.

What was it like to be a rock star when you were 16?

I took it seriously, even though some of the pictures were dressed kind of in shorts and… I still took it seriously. I took my music serious and I really wanted to become a better guitar player. I focused on my guitar playing and I did things to try to better myself as a guitar player. Like, I would plug straight into the amplifier rather than using effects, whereas nowadays, you’ve got pedal boards out the fuckin’ ass! It’s unbelievable how many pieces of equipment people use to play guitar! I just don’t get it. I’m very basic. I play with a wah-wah pedal and a delay and that’s it. I don’t even use a tuner – they just get in my way.

So, that was one of the things I focused on in the very beginning was just playing guitar. I heard horror stories about different bands where they’d plug into machines and machines would make noise. Back then, too, the pedals weren’t as evolved as today. And I didn’t want to be like that because I was a chick especially; I needed to be taken seriously as a guitar player.

Seems like it annoyed you that you’re lumped in with the “Top Female Guitarists” as opposed to just “Top Guitarists”?

Well, it does bug me because it’s like I got a different category because I’m a different sex. There wasn’t a category because Jimi Hendrix was black – he was just a guitar player. What the hell’s the difference? What do you need a penis for if you’re playing guitar? Are you gonna use it as a slide? I mean, really – what else could you do with it? [Laughs]

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Coming Soon from
Tame Impala

I believe the new Tame Impala album might be “finished, mixed, mastered, mooged, broinged, and beeped.”

Watch the Australian psychsters’ announcement:

Sign up here for more Tame Impala info!

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