Monthly Archives: April 2013

Orange Goblin:
The TVD Interview

If you were a scientist and tried to go into your laboratory to create Orange Goblin, you would probably need equal parts whiskey, doom metal, classic rock, beer, stoner rock, and the Incredible Hulk to begin to replicate their enormous sound. Since 1995, they have been bringing their Sabbathesque brand of heavy metal to the masses, through albums and a relentless, yet mostly European touring schedule. 

Orange Goblin has finally returned to America, hitting the road with the road warriors of rock, Maryland’s Clutch (our review of the Baltimore, MD show is here), in support of their 2012 breakout album A Eulogy for the Damned. We sat down with singer Ben Ward and drummer Christopher Turner, and chatted about everything from tour riders to Adam and the Ants.

Welcome back to America!

Christopher Turner: Thanks!

Ben Ward: Thank you!

How are you finding touring in America different from touring in Europe?

BW: Well, obviously the drives are a lot bigger. There’s greater spaces between each city or town. That can be kind of draining each day but, you know, it’s part and parcel of it. I think hospitality riders in Europe are generally more generous than you get in America. Not to say that we’ve been not done by, but I think any American band that’s been to Europe will testify to that.

CT: This is the sixth time we’ve been here, so we’re a bit used to it.

BW: You know, we’re not strangers, we know what to expect. It’s just something we’ve learned to deal with.

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The TVD First Date

“I’m around six years old when I have my first experience with vinyl. It’s a sunny afternoon in the school summer holidays. The sun is blazing in through the burnt orange curtains behind the record player as if signifying a moment of enlightenment. What I’m listening to, I don’t know, it doesn’t matter. All I know is that I’m choosing to put a record on for the first time—and I love it.”

“I’ve got the sofa bed pulled out (a grey red and black ’80s number to complement the orange and green carpet of course) and I’m jumping around, throwing cushions, dancing, and tiring myself out. This is it, I’ve arrived. Why haven’t my parents told me about this treasure chest of creation that’s been hiding from me, only just out of reach?

Skip forward a couple of years and I’m now well and truly acquainted with my parents’ record collection. Diverse? Maybe. Interesting, definitely. Rubber Soul by The Beatles has to be my favourite, and ‘Norwegian Wood’ is my stand out track. What does it all mean? The sound of that acoustic guitar and the weird sounding instrument that I’ve not heard before, incredible. The pure simplicity always captures my attention. There’s a load of Beatles albums, there’s even a Tijuana band covers album. We’ve also got The Beach Boys and Joan Baez (which is another favourite of mine) to name but a few. There’s a load of classical albums too that look like they are antiques. I’m pretty careful around those, I think there is something growing on a few of them.

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TVD Jazz Fest Heads Up: 7th Annual James Brown Tribute, 5/3

Many bands play the songs of James Brown, but very few play the music. The fine folks from the Perrier Lounge will be celebrating the 80th birthday of the inimitable Godfather of Soul with a tribute show at the Maple Leaf Bar. The set starts at 2 AM after Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes.

The musical entertainment will be the New Orleans Soul Stars. This super group features some of the funkiest musicians in the Crescent City including Tony Hall on vocals and guitar, Renard Poche on guitar and trombone, Raymond Webber on drums, and Calvin Turner on bass.

The horn section features Tracy Griffin on trumpet, Roderick Paulin, “the Maceo Parker of New Orleans,” and Jeff Watkins on saxophones. Watkins was the featured soloist in the James Brown Band for the last twelve years. James Brown called Watkins, “the 9th wonder of the world.”

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The Single Girl: Death Rattle, “Fortress” EP

Electro duo Death Rattle impressed us with their last EP “HE&l” which channeled the energy of Sleigh Bells and Zola Jesus. However, with their second EP “Fortress,” the band have taken a side step into the darker corner of the genre creating majestic soundscapes and haunting electro-pop melodies.

Each track weaves and blends into one another with Helen’s haunting vocals entwined within the ambient melodies. “White Ropes” is a calm start and feels more like a comedown track rather than a triumphant start to an EP.

However, before you know it, Death Rattle surprise with brilliant crescendos and walls of noise—this isn’t the quiet start they’d have you believe, the duo are building, layering, painting a picture with sound.

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Graded on a Curve:
Iggy and the Stooges,
Ready to Die

If you were hoping that Iggy and the Stooges’ new record Ready to Die, which features the unlikely return of James Williamson on guitar, would somehow match the heights of Raw Power, you’re in for a little bit of disappointment. But taken on its own, the LP does include a few nice moments. It also has its share of problems. Maybe the best thing about Ready to Die is that it holds a few surprises that actually expose the limitations of its intentions.

In rock ‘n’ roll, it’s particularly hard to escape being dogged by past success, and this is especially true when those achievements happen to be amongst the most important in rock’s history. And when some cornerstone performer or legendary group returns to the studio after a lengthy hiatus, the chances that the results will somehow escape being judged against those previous breakthroughs are basically nil.

With their 1969 self-titled debut and its follow-up, 1970’s Fun House, The Stooges recorded two of the greatest albums ever. Few people saw it that way at the time. Aggressively unfashionable in the midst of feel-good hippie-era vibes, they sold hardly any records and imploded in a haze of heroin abuse, subsequently finding themselves dropped from the roster of their label Elektra

Resurrected through the efforts of David Bowie and with guitarist James Williamson in the lineup (Ron Asheton having switched to bass) they became Iggy and the Stooges and produced Raw Power with Bowie in the producer’s seat for new label Columbia in 1973. It also flopped commercially and the group disbanded in 1974, with the monkey still very much on Iggy’s back. Two years later Metallic K.O., a live document of their final shows, was issued semi-officially by the Skydog label and just in time for the reevaluation of The Stooges as punk rock reared its spiky, pissed-off head.

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TVD Live: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Fillmore, 4/22

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club has just released their seventh studio album titled Specter at the Feast. They recorded the majority of the album at Dave Grohl’s studio in Los Angeles on the same console which is featured in Grohl’s Sound City, the documentary that explores LA’s legendary recording studio of the same name, Sound City.

The new record comes three years to the month since Beat the Devil’s Tattoo. The band wasn’t planning on taking a break, but they were left with an uncertain future following a devastating loss.

BRMC The Fillmore San Francisco Jason Miller-5684

Just five months after releasing the record, Robert Levon Been’s father, former Call frontman Michael Been, passed away whilst working as a sound engineer at a BRMC concert in Belgium. The band covered Robert’s father’s song “Let The Day Begin” on their Spectre at The Feast and Been appeared in two concerts with a reunited The Call taking his father’s place on bass and vocals.

BRMC opened up their set with this song and looks to be doing so across the country. A fitting tribute to a rock ‘n roller who left us way too early and was a big part of the band’s live sound.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Jessie Ware, Devotion

The UK invasion into American consciousness continues with singer-songwriter Jessie Ware. Unlike the pop-infused British balladeers that have preceded her, Ware finds her niche in the old-school-R&B-meets-electronic-beats scene. 

Beginning with Frank Sinatra and Ella Fitzgerald, Jessie Ware has been immersed in music ever since she was a young girl. Though her dream of becoming a musician encountered a momentary pause to pursue a career in journalism, Ware soon resumed the pursuit with the help of friend, Jack Peñate. Ware quickly became a hit in the UK with her rich, soulful voice accompanied by dance-worthy, catchy beats. She created and released a full-length album, Devotion, which peaked at number five on the UK charts.

Hoping to match her success across the pond, Ware made a successful US debut with the January release of her EP If You’re Never Gonna Move, which featured four songs from Devotion and a remix of the title track. Following the success of her EP, the UK songbird released her full-length album, Devotion, to the US on April 16th, and we’re giving away a vinyl copy.

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TVD Live: Fu Manchu, Bloodnstuff, Borracho at the Black Cat, 4/22

If Jeff Spicoli was an actual person, in between partying and catching tasty waves, he would most definitely be listening to Fu Manchu. The California stoner rock outfit has been laying down heavy grooves since 1990, and Monday, 4/22 at the Black Cat, Fu Manchu took us back 16 years, playing all of 1997′s The Action Is Go album.

Local support for the night was handled by DC’s Borracho. By the time they took the stage, the small room was already gathering a decent crowd. With singer Noah Greenburg going on hiatus, the band continued on as a three-piece, with guitarist Steve Fisher taking the reins on vocals. With the mic above his head and pointing down, reminiscent of Lemmy, and a gruff snarl to match, Fisher led Borracho across their set like Hannibal leading his elephants through the Alps.

Mid-tempo songs and heavy, low, churning chords gave way occasionally to fast-paced neckbreakers, and back again. Bassist Tim Martin and drummer Mario Trubiano provided the audio equivalent of a thunderstorm and an earthquake, yet did it with a cool, focused calm about them. As the set went on, Borracho alternated between songs with and without vocals, and it made for a perfect mix of their material. As they closed their set with “Concentric Circles,” the crowd showed their appreciation for the hometown boys and began their mingling during the set break.

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Josh Rouse:
The TVD Interview

“I write quite a bit,” Josh Rouse mentions casually as we begin our trans-Atlantic phone conversation. No exaggeration there, as his output has been remarkably prolific over the last decade or so. Encompassing solo albums, band recordings and a fascinating side project with Spanish singer Paz Suay dubbed She’s Spanish, I’m American, Rouse’s work ethic is enviable. An expatriate living in Spain with his Suay (now his wife) and their two young children, Rouse reflected on his new album, The Happiness Waltz, his time in Nashville, and his vinyl past.

The Happiness Waltz feels likes it’s coming from a very personal perspective.

It’s a collection of songs I’ve been building over the last few years. They felt more like classic American singer-songwriter material than the other stuff I had been working on, which was jazzy and tropical. I called Brad (Jones, Nashville-based musician and producer) to discuss it and he said, “Oh yeah, your fans are going to love that,” so I just kept writing in that vein. Six months later, he flew over and we recorded the album in five days in my studio here in Valencia. I used the musicians I play with now and we knocked it out really quickly.

I was listening to John & Yoko’s Double Fantasy album a lot at the time. I really like that album and I wanted to take the same approach to lyrics about relationships and capture snapshots of my life. The Happiness Waltz is just a title that popped into my head and I thought, “That’s a nice name.” The record is up and down emotionally, like life. We swing from joy to pain every day and I wanted that to reflect in the album.

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The TVD First Date

“When I was 12 years old I bought my first 7 inch record; Blutonic by The Bluetones. Prior to this I had a shitty transistor radio which only picked up long wave radio before upgrading to a double tape and radio. I had owned a few tapes (most notably a Classic Rock collection I begged my dad to buy with his ESSO tokens featuring my then favourite, “Baker Street” by Gerry Rafferty) and some copied albums from school friends. The only ones I remember were Nevermind by Nirvana and Definitely Maybe by Oasis, both of which were listened to till they snapped.”

“I didn’t have my own record player when I started buying seven-inch records, but my Dad had an old Technics with a single tape deck in the corner of the living room which sat in silent deference to the television. I would sit with my headphones on each night and soak in as much jangly ’90s indie as could be afforded before bed time.

I felt like I had made a breakthrough by buying a record and was now truly involved in music. The record itself was a limited run of 5,000. This meant, to my 12 year old brain, that only 4999 other people on the planet could possibly like The Bluetones as much as I did. This was real. This was entirely mine.

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The Single Girl: Sam Thomas, “I’m Gonna Be
A Witch”

Sam Thomas released “I’m Gonna Be A Witch” this month along with a debut video to accompany the track.

He’s the son of an opera singer, but also takes influences from the likes of Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and My Bloody Valentine. Sam Thomas’ single “I’m Gonna Be A Witch” is majestic and beautiful and you can hear where his influences have really taken hold—in the slow build up, the crescendo, and the fade out. There’s almost no start or end to the song, with a dreamy essence underneath the melody.

The one draw back of the single is just as it starts to pique your interest, it’s all over. It’s a gorgeous piece of music, but almost feels a little too much like background noise after a few listens and would maybe have benefitted from some layered vocal harmonies or the presence of vocals full stop.

Despite this, Sam Thomas has got us wondering what else is up his sleeve, and if this is just the beginning, then we very much look forward to hearing his debut album in the summer.

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday morning recap of the new tracks received last week—provided here to inform your vinyl purchasing power. We post, you right-click.

Chris Hickey – June Fifth
K-Woody – Ones And Twos (feat. Granata)
Lo-Fang – The One That I Want
Survival – Tragedy of the Mind
City Society – Riot Bloom
Statistics – Nineteen Ninety Nine
Firehorse – Good
Poor Things – Morgan
Mortar & Pestle – Pristine Dream
GRMLN – Hand Pistol

Grant Olney – Not From Body

Linda Draper – Hollow
The Cannanes – Zone (Dr. Version Remix)
Mike Marlin – The Murderer
Touche – Shhh It’s Quiet Time
Beat Connection – Saola (ODESZA Remix)
Peals – Blue Elvis
Charlie Wilson ft. T-Pain – Supa Sexy (Remix By KRONO)
Chrysta Bell – Real Love (Produced by David Lynch)
Gracie – My Pet
Heliotropes – Psalms

20 more FREE TRACKS after the jump!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Home from an absolutely gorgeous weekend in the desert, I’ve tried to settle back into my LA routine—a life of constant music business insanity. Honestly, it’s been an uphill battle.

While I used to work in my cozy Canyon reconditioned garage, I now work in an office building. It’s not the environment I pictured myself habituating—I live my days inside the walls of a corporation. Well, “life ain’t so bad.”

I guess that’s what most of the animals packed in the LA County Zoo say when the zoo keepers go to Trails for their cappuccino break? Maybe they do have a point. I’m jamming some cool tunes and grateful for health and cool friends.

There are two inspirations for this week’s Idelic Hour. One is a visit from a cool friend.

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TVD500: The winner is…

On February 19th we launched our most ambitious undertaking yet—TVD500, the recurring competition where we will, along with our esteemed partners Infrasonic Mastering, Furnace MFG, and Dorado Music Packaging, master, press, design, print, package, and deliver 500 copies of a winning 7″ single—on us.

We put out the call for any individual artist or band, working in any genre, to submit two tracks to us as entries, an A and B side, for consideration for this competition. In addition, the winner would be the first release on our own brand new vinyl imprint, TVD Records.

We’re delighted to announce that after seven weeks of soliciting entries and hundreds of submissions, we have consensus from our panel of judges.

Our winner is Sillyboy from Athens, Greece with the darkly moody and evocative A-side single, “Supply Chain.”

How did the voting go among the judges?

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TVD Recommends: Monument presents
The Everymen, a
Benefit for Back on
My Feet at Beats, 4/27

Monument Music and Arts Festival is back once again with a cool band and a great cause that will benefit from the concert’s proceeds. This time they’re hosting the New Jersey-born eight-member band The Everymen. Also featured is the youthful Maryland band The Sea Life, at Beats.

For $12, you can get tickets to see these bands live, and 100% of the proceeds go to the DC chapter of Back on My Feet, a national non-profit organization that helps those experiencing homelessness gain self-sufficiency by providing them opportunities through running. Pretty cool, right?

So back to the music, The Everyman just released their debut album, New Jersey Hardcore, last October. This rock and roll band’s got some kick, whose style is said to be a mix of Bruce Springsteen, The Replacements, The Hold Steady, and some doo-wop girl groups from the 1950s and ‘60s. They’re releasing an EP of covers on April 30, so be sure to check that out. The Sea Life, a group of four kids still in college, has got more of a pop vibe in their music. Despite their youth, they have already released their first album, Basements, last fall.

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