Monthly Archives: January 2013

Secret Mountains to release their long awaited debut album Rainer in February

After a pair of solid EPs, Baltimore’s Secret Mountains are set to share their first full length record with the world.

Whether you’ve noticed it or not, the music scene in Baltimore has grown to be one of the strongest on the East Coast. With acts like Animal Collective, Beach House, and Dan Deacon blazing a trail, a number of young and extremely talented bands look to follow in their footsteps. One of those bands who is right on the cusp of breaking out onto the national spotlight is Secret Mountains.

Mixing hauntingly beautiful psych with sprawling dreampop, the six piece have been crafting their unique sound for the past several years. After releasing “Kaddish” and “Rejoice,” a pair of EPs released in 2009 and 2010 respectively, the group began work on their first LP. The result of their months of hard work is Rainer. Out on Baltimore label Friends Records on February 26th, the release will include a limited pressing of 500 copies on all black vinyl—and can be pre ordered here.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: The Lumineers at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 7/26

The last time we gave away tickets to The Lumineers a few weeks ago, we had 200 entries but only 1 winner. Good thing they’ve just announced a date at MPP, so that we can give you all one more shot to win.—Ed.

From emerging into mainstream radio to getting nominated for two Grammy awards, it’s safe to say that 2012 was the year for The Lumineers. 2013 looks just as promising for the folk band. With a sold-out tour, the band has started the new year right. 

The Lumineers were founded in 2005 by front man Wesley Schultz and drummer Jeremiah Fraites. Grief-stricken by the loss of close friend and brother Joshua Fraites, the band served as a way of coping. With a move to Denver and the addition of cellist Neyla Pekarek, The Lumineers gained a following, and so much more, with their hit single, “Ho Hey.”

On July 26, the band will be playing at Merriweather Post Pavilion… and we’re giving away a pair of lawn tickets before they even go on sale!

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TVD Live Shots: The DC Record Fair in Photos

If we’re to believe the Huffington Post, Sunday’s DC Record Fair at Penn Social in downtown Washington, DC “…appears to be growing larger with each iteration. The venues can barely keep up with the demand of music fans.”

“People attempting to navigate through isles of music had to squeeze and shimmy their way through bargain seekers,” they added.

While the Fair did attract well over a thousand people through its doors over a 6-hour span, the vibe was continuously warm and congenial. And more than a little vinyl centric.

We tasked intrepid photographer Richie Downs with clawing and kicking his way through the crowd on Sunday.

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TVD Live: Graveyard at the Black Cat, 1/26

Ah, the seventies–I don’t remember them well. Too much booze, too many mind-bending drugs. But one thing I was sure I remembered well were those occasions when my pal Billy Harrison would pay a visit to my should-have-been-condemned house in Shippensburg, which any sane human being would have fled the day the ceiling in the next room collapsed, dropping a one-ton wooden beam smack on my roommate’s bed.

What we would do, Billy and I, is place the speakers of my stereo on the sills of my open bedroom windows and crank the volume on Graveyard‘s Lights Out LP to 11—you know, to serenade the neighbors. Unfortunately one man’s ecstasy is another man’s earache, and our neighborhood concerts came to an abrupt end the day a police officer suddenly materialized through the billowing clouds of pot smoke that filled the room, like Satan appearing amidst fire and brimstone. The pot pipe flew in one direction, the baggy of dope in another, but we needn’t have bothered; not only did the cop let us walk, he didn’t even bother to seize our stash. Must have been a Graveyard fan.

There’s only one hitch in this fond recollection of mine: Graveyard weren’t there. They couldn’t have been. Hell, the boys in the band hadn’t even been born yet. But they soundlike they were there, which is what I love so much about Graveyard—they’re so retro they bring back memories I don’t even have.

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Graded on a Curve: Charley Patton, The Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume One

Third Man Records has joined forces with the certifiable old-time jukebox that is the Document label to commence a rather stellar series of vinyl reissues, with its first three subjects responsible for some of the most vital music produced in the early years of sound recording. Maybe the most important is Charley Patton. He’s credited as an integral ingredient in the shaping of the blues, but his stuff remains captivating even when heard apart from the circumstances of history. Separating Patton from his legacy is in the end an impossible and undesirable task, however; Patton’s The Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, Volume One is the first installment in a sequence that will not only bring huge insights to new generations but will additionally provide an inexhaustible source of pure listening pleasure.

For many a young rock-weaned listener who came of age in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the first encounter with the blues was provided through the electrified strains that emerged from cities like Memphis, Detroit, and of course Chicago, with the amplified blues holding the closest relationship to the rock music that had absorbed, altered and in some cases betrayed the form.

To ears that held no firsthand experience with the often severe climates that shaped the early portion of last century, the more modern sensibilities of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Elmore James, and even the less urbanized, at times quite eccentric sides issued by guitarists like Lightnin’ Hopkins and John Lee Hooker still made sense when considered in rock terms, a set of ideas that held a dominant sway on the young minds that so often salivated for insight into the circumstances behind the stuff that helped to define their youthful musical interests.

The sounds that originated from the Mississippi Delta in the ’20s-‘30s, often talked about as a locus for so many of rock’s big advances in the ‘60s-‘70s, represented a distance of only a few decades, but for adolescents hearing them for the first time, the gulf between surface-noise compromised acoustic performances that were reliably rendered solo and the unblemished, full-bodied, full-band recordings of The Rolling Stones and Eric Clapton could feel huge and unsurprisingly alienating.

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TVD Live Shots:
Ra Ra Riot at the 9:30 Club, 1/23

Ra Ra Riot played to a nearly sold-out crowd at the 9:30 Club last Wednesday. The band is touring in support of their new album Beta Love that was released only the day prior to the show.

2013 marks a new chapter for the band, as it is for the first time in their almost seven-year history that they are touring and playing without the lovely Alexandra Lawn, their former cellist. The core of the band, however, is still there, and they seem to be moving forward at full steam. Riot serves up all the crowd favorites with a sprinkling of their new album throughout their set. Their set list included “Dance With Me,” “Boy,” and “Shadowcasting.”

I was pleasantly surprised with their live sound and stage presence. The band is clearly having fun while they are on stage, and the energetic crowd was screaming for more in between every song. At one point towards the end of their set, Riot’s front man Wes Miles proclaimed, “We would stay here all night if we could.” For me, Riot’s music translates as a much more emotional experience live then it does on their records.

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Third Man Records announces Document Records reissue series

“This project is near and dear to Jack’s heart,” explained Third Man Records’ Ben Blackwell when asked about the label’s Document Records reissue series. It should come as no surprise to Jack White’s followers that he would champion the music of America’s blues pioneers as he has always been very vocal about the musicians and especially the records that inspire him.

The fact that many of these LPs have been unavailable for decades was the driving force behind Third Man’s decision to partner with Document. Established 1986 by Johnny Parth in Austria, Document Records specializes in rescuing and reissuing early American roots music, with a heavy emphasis on blues. However, it has been nearly twenty years since Document has issued that music on LP. Who better, then, to fill this breach than the vinyl enthusiasts at Third Man?

The first three records in this Third Man/Document series are scheduled for release on Tuesday, January 29th with Volume 1 of The Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order from Charley Patton, Blind Willie McTell and The Mississippi Sheiks, respectively. Subsequent volumes will follow on a regular basis and new artists will be introduced as soon as the first series is completed.

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TVD Live: Quicksand at Regency Ballroom, 1/21

New York post-hardcore rockers Quicksand hit back hard after a 13-year absence, sounding better than ever. Walter Schreifels and company were in top form playing to a jam-packed Regency Ballroom in San Francisco last Monday. Coming out of the gate swinging, the band launched into classic track “Omission,” followed by blistering versions of “Unfulfilled” and “Head to Wall,” before blasting the roof off of the ballroom with their most well-known gem”Fazer.”

Although they never achieved true mainstream success, Quicksand released one of the greatest debut records of all time with 1993’s seminal masterpiece Slip, and after delivering two brilliant records over a four-year period, the band would go on indefinite hiatus. Their sound was and is still truly unique and has yet to be matched. A mash-up of Fugazi, Helmet, and Tool-before-Tool-had-an-identity, it’s raw, it’s angry, and somehow it’s undeniably catchy. They created the blueprint for what would become a new style of rock that would pave the way for the success of bands such as The Deftones and Taking Back Sunday.

Quicksand had a real knack for writing songs that were gritty but accessible, yet still hardcore enough for the metal kids and the punk kids both to love. I remember seeing them on tour with Rage Against the Machine in 1993 and thinking to myself, “This is the next big thing. This is a sound that is going to change everything.” Unfortunately, due to tensions within the band and their major label’s inability to get them to the next level, their genius was short-lived. I will never understand why some of the best bands in the world can’t make it past their sophomore release while other bands just don’t know when to hang it up.

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TVD Kickstarts:
Soft Speaker

The world of experimental rock music was shaken this week by the dissolution of The Mars Volta. Despair not! We have a band for you that would love to fill that hole in your hearts. They’re called Soft Speaker, and they need your help.

Allow me to back up a bit. Soft Speaker is more than just a delightfully heady prog-influenced rock band. It’s more complicated than that. The band interweaves its story with a fascinating mythology involving a prominent Austrian historical figure and the idea that all their songs have been unearthed and recorded from sheet music written by a turn-of-the-century iteration of Soft Speaker (Sanftsprecher).

Soft Speaker have recorded their third full length LP, Turkish Mindbathers, and are turning to Kickstarter pledges to press it to audiophile-quality 180 gram vinyl. They are hoping to raise $2,000 by February 28th to pay for the costs of plating and pressing. In addition to Turkish Mindbathers, these prolific devils have recorded an EP’s worth of material to be released on CD as International Scheiße, Dummkopf!.

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TVD’s Press Play

It’s our weekly Twitter #MusicMonday recap of the brand new tracks from last week that the folks in the press offices want you to be hearing. We post, you download.

VYIE – Darrrk Knight
TECLA – Fake Tears
TORRES – Mother Earth, Father God
Speck Mountain – Run, Honey, Run
Qtier – Still
Lapland – Unwise
Pick a Piper – All Her Colours
Crash And The Coots – Don’t Kill Bugs
ADR – Slush Fund
D-WHY – 2000 Miles (Prod. D.Mile)

FI/SHE/S – A Drive to the Psychos

Judy Kang – You
Smoke Fairies – The Three Of Us
The March Divide – Pick Me Up
Dog Bite – Native America
Dan Friel – Thumper
Andy Winter – Somewhere Else To Disappear
Baby Baby – Keep On Dancin (Single Version)
Cliff Dweller – Peace In The Valley
Dada Trash Collage – Up And Down
&c. – Ego

14 more FREE TRACKS after the jump!

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THIS SUNDAY! The DC Record Fair Returns!

Have we mentioned how difficult it often is to nail down a venue for the DC Record Fair? Apparently DC has a dearth of spaces large enough to accommodate 40 or more record dealers, with 40 or more tables, hundreds of crates of records, and often the 700-1,000 enthusiastic crate diggers who descend upon the event.

Then there’s the DJ set up, the bar, the food, and the random other surprises that make the DC Record Fair a special community event. Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together this piece that outshines any descriptive copy we could conjure up:

Mark your calendars! 

Sunday, January 27, 2013 at Penn Social, 801 E Street, NW
11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $5.00 | 12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $2.00
RSVP at the Facebook invite!

11:00 – 12:00 Danny Ingram / Dot Dash
12:00 – 1:00 DJ Fusion
1:00 – 2:00 DJ Test Patterns
2:00 – 3:00 Josh Harkavy / Red Onion Records, DC
3:00 – 4:00 Ex Ex Ex
4:00 – 5:00 Marcuyeah 

The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and us!

Our thanks to John Foster at Bad People Good Things for that killer poster!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

This week will go down in history. It’s the week our No. 1 funky soul brother became our seriously real No. 1 funky soul brother!

Yep, that’s right crackers—Monday the nation closed shop, took time off for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and watched Barack Obama get his groove on for a second term as “The Prez” of these here Untied States of America!

Sound-bites are running through my mind: “I’m Gonna Stay,” “Prove It To Me,” “I Can’t Loose,” “Keep The Faith,” “Needless To Say,” “Natural Man,” and of course, “Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)!”

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Weekend Shots!

Around this time of the year many of us are still in the giving back and helping others mood (which should be year round, but let’s be honest here…) If you remain generous, you’re in luck as it’s time again for Starbucks’ Little Big Show!

First Aid Kit played to a sold-out crowd at the last Little Big Show in November. There’s no doubt that the same won’t happen this Sunday when The Walkmen and Father John Misty bring their unique sounds to the stage to raise money for the Seattle-based non-profit, Youth in Focus. Youth in Focus is an afterschool program that teaches photography and videography to disadvantaged teens, enabling them to find their unique voice and forge a positive teenage experience.

The Walkmen have been making music for the last 10 years, first introduced as rowdy, young musicians, whose sound put them on the indie rock map. When the Walkmen released their latest album, Heaven in May of last year, fans and critics alike were both surprised and pleased with the newest record from the New York-based band.

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Weekend Shots!


Hey, Memphis! If you’re either back to school or back at work, the full rush of the holidays has come and passed, but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t anything to do.

This weekend we’ve got you exploding to some blues, hearing some of the South’s most notable all-stars, and hopefully not bleeding on a dance floor (unless you’re into that kind of thing). Hope your fake ID is in check—it’s time for some weekend shots!

Friday (1/25) starts on a good note with long-running New York blues rock Jon Spencer Blues Explosion booked at The Hi-Tone Cafe. Jon Spencer and co. released Meat & Bone last year to positive critical reviews, which was something of a task considering it was the band’s first studio effort in eight years. Come to hear raw and catchy cuts like the album’s lead single “Black Mold.” The Jam Messengers support.

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Everest Ascending: Ambition, self-doubt, and on the road with Neil Young, Part 2

TVD took to the road with Everest last November and December as they opened for Neil Young and Crazy Horse and Patti Smith. They were as welcoming as they are talented—and more than a bit introspective. Part one can be found right here. Ed.

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”
― Friedrich Nietzsche


Talent, like talk, is cheap. Everyone wants talent for nothing in the 21st century. If you’ve got it, you’ve got to keep moving, keep pushing, keep creating.

“I know it takes a long time; we’ve been killin’ it for a long time,” Jason tells me, taking a drag off a cigarette. “ I’ve been in bands forever, but also music isn’t worth anything. It’s not a commodity anymore. We spend all this money on equipment, and going into the studio, and making records… you spend all this money and time making this product and they give it away.


“I don’t want you to think it’s all the label’s fault. Somebody told me a long time ago that anytime something isn’t working, the band is responsible for all that in one way or another.”

Bridgeport marks the last official date of the “Alchemy” tour, and Everest asks Neil Young and the Crazy Horse guys for a photo together. It doesn’t look like it’s going to happen, but word comes that Neil has agreed and it’s go time. They stand in front of the Rust props in a line. There is a mutual respect. There are also eggshells. In under ten minutes, the photos are done and Everest are left to do their sound check. Jason walks past me and smiles. “Pretty cool!”

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