Monthly Archives: May 2013

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Since we’ve crossed into the millennium, time seems to roll on so fast. Before you know it, summer will be upon us. Just as I got used to the idea of May, Memorial Day weekend is here. “TGIFF.” Thank god it’s fucking Friday! I can certainly use a long weekend.

No one here seems to have much going on over this holiday. A bunch of my band friends are headed to Spain to play Primavera. Friends in New York and London are dealing with rain and sleet. For Memorial Day, I will be saying a prayer for ol’ Ray Manzarek. “Cancel our subscriptions to the resurrection.” I can’t help but wonder if Ray and Jim have connected on the “other side.”

My next Idelic Hour will surely be dedicated to the meaning of The Doors.

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Marc Maron:
The TVD Interview

A garage, two microphones, and a laptop might not seem like a recipe for media dominance, but then comedian Marc Maron doesn’t do things in a normal way.

The former Air America host and journeyman stand-up started podcasting from his garage in 2009 at a time when he felt his career was at a dead-end. That dead-end quickly turned into an expressway for Maron’s multi-tiered intellect with the podcast giving him, for the first time in his career, an unencumbered, uncensored media outlet. His frank, in-depth interviews with his comedic peers quickly gained a loyal following which keeps WTF with Marc Maron in the Top Ten iTunes chart week after week.

WTF’s success led to the current IFC Television series Maron, based on his life and starring Marc in the title role. He also recently published his second book, Attempting Normal, and did an exhaustive media blitz to promote it, including inaugural visits to The Howard Stern Show and Fresh Air with Terry Gross. As second acts go, it’s a doozy.

Okay, that’s cool and all, but why is Marc talking to The Vinyl District? As he has noted many times on WTF, Marc is an enthusiastic vinyl fan which he illustrates with accounts of his listening sessions that brim with an almost evangelical zeal. Growing up in New Mexico, Marc’s first exposure to music came courtesy of his parent’s record and tape collection.

About two years ago, after noticing new record stores opening in and around his Highland Park neighborhood, he dipped his toe back into the vinyl stream and is now thoroughly immersed. Of course, being Marc Maron, his neurotic side frets over becoming an obsessive collector and possible future episode subject of Hoarders. But for now, the joy of listening to music on a quality turntable and music system is keeping those fears at bay.

What was the first album that really grabbed you when you were a kid?

(Without hesitation) The Beatles Second Album. It sounded so great! I remember playing “Roll Over Beethoven” over and over. I was obsessed with that song. I even went out and bought a Mountain album (Twin Peaks) because it had that song on it. It took me a while before I found the Chuck Berry original. My parents had a lot of cassettes: Janis Joplin’s Greatest Hits, Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison and stuff like that. I also had an aunt who gave me some some records. My musical education really started with a store called Budget Records and Tapes in Albuquerque. There was a guy named Jim there who turned me on to so many wild things.

While you were getting this musical education, did you share it with you friends at school?

Not really. At that time, Van Halen, AC/DC and Led Zeppelin were really popular. One of my buddies was a huge Journey fan. A lot of it was influenced by the concerts that came through. I listened to all that. What I was getting from the record store guys was probably far beyond the comprehension of my high school crowd. Later, I got into jazz and new music by artists like Joe Jackson and Elvis Costello.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: JJUUJJUU, FRST

The fantastic Los Angeles duo, JJUUJJUU, are made up of Moon Block Party‘s Phil Pirrone and Incan Abraham‘s Andrew Clinco and they just released their first collection of Krautrock-inspired psychedelic jams as an EP entitled FRST on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records in April, and made their first appearance at this year’s Austin Psych Fest later the same month. And I’m happy to say that we have a copy of the limited edition EP on white vinyl for one lucky TVD winner! Have a listen…

The honorable Permanent Records Chicago calls FRST “…a mouthwatering ‘amuse bouche’ for this tasty morsel of heavy psych! Rolling drums and droning guitars ebb and sway, conjuring a peyote-fueled rollercoaster ride thru the blistering Mojave.

There’s definitely a mood and vibe ruminating thru these grooves, with echoes of fellow voyagers like Spacemen 3, Brian Jonestown Massacre, and even some of the headier moments from the earlier Black Angels oeuvre. These guys are definitely ones to watch—we certainly will be.”

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Posted in TVD New York City | 14 Comments

Mark Kendall of
Great White:
The TVD Interview

Mark Kendall is the lead guitarist and a founding member of the hard rock band Great White. 30 years after founding the band in Los Angeles, Mark and company have sold over 10 million records worldwide and continue to record and tour. Elation is the band’s twelfth studio album and the first to feature vocalist Terry Ilous.

Great White might have been lumped into the Hair Metal category back in the ’80s, but Mark Kendall’s incredible guitar playing and his love for the blues gave the band its distinct sound, which has enabled the band’s music to truly stand the test of time and keep a loyal fan base hungry for more, even after 30 years.

The new album undeniably has the Great White signatures. “Feeling So Much Better” has a harder side to it, while “Shotgun Willies” sounds like classic GW. “Hard to Say Goodbye” boasts incredibly great songwriting that showcases the vocal abilities of new singer Terry Ilous. He’s no Jack Russell, and that’s ok, because what’s most important is that the core of Great White is still together and stronger than ever.

I had the chance to chat with Mark Kendall, and he was kind enough to share some remarkably interesting stories from the his fruitful career so far.

Great White started in LA back in 1982. Can you tell me what the vibe was on the Sunset Strip at that time?

The scene was really electric. It was really healthy in the early ’80s, apart from ’81 when New Wave started coming through a bit. There was really something happening in Hollywood. I was going up there a lot because there was always someone playing: Motley Crue, Ratt, Dokken. Back a little bit before that is when Van Halen got their record deal, and that’s when we all said, wow, this is possible.

I followed them a bit because I saw them when I was a teenager in a backyard somewhere. I was inspired not only because they were the best band around at the time, but also by their work ethic. They played more than anyone. I could relate because Great White also followed that trend for a while when we played a ton of shows for free just to get our name out.

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TVD Recommends: Tom McBride Record Release at the Black Cat, 5/31

If you’ve got the summer blues, I’ve got just the cure. The sultry country meets indie folk meets Americana singer-songwriter Tom McBride is out with a brand new record and will showcase the work at the Black Cat next Friday, 5/31.

McBride’s new record Morning in Glen Burnie is a modern album steeped in an old-school throwback collection of music that blends country, Americana, rhythm and blues, soul and classic rock. McBride recorded Morning in Glen Burnie just outside of Boston close to his hometown, though he said the songs were inspired by the city of Nashville, where his music career began. Boston native, Kimon Kirk (Grant-Lee Phillips, Aimee Mann), signed on as producer.

The stand-out track from the record for me is “Julia.” It’s got a throwback ’50s blues appeal that makes you feel like the girl you’ve been in love with all your life broke up with you in the middle of a Buddy Holly song at the sock hop, so you hurried to the closest diner to buy a chocolate malt to cry into.

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Two New Orleans trumpeters release new albums on Tuesday, 5/28

Next Tuesday is a big day for Kermit Ruffins and Terence Blanchard. It is national release day for both Ruffins’ We Partyin’ Traditional Style! and Blanchard’s Magnetic

Ruffins has never been shy about his affection for traditional New Orleans jazz. However, his music has moved beyond the style that was the motivating force behind him leaving the Rebirth Brass Band to develop his solo act.

His new record returns him to his trad roots with a collection of tunes that could have appeared on his debut record, World On A String. Favorites include “When It’s Sleepy Time Down South,” “Jeepers Creepers,” and “Careless Love.”

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TVD Recommends: River Concert 2013 with Nicole Atkins, Mike Doughty, and Steve Forbert in Shark River Hills, NJ, 6/1

Page 2 doesn’t sell papers, and disasters are only “good” news for a while. When Hurricane Sandy devastated the East Coast last October, there were benefits and telethons and outpourings of support. For a while. When the public’s eyes turned, and winter settled in, there wasn’t much else to do but try to rebuild through a frigid Northeast winter. Despite months of hard work and working around red tape, towns along the New Jersey coast are still in ruins, and Shark River Hills—home of singer/songwriter Nicole Atkins—is one of those towns.

When you grow up close to the ocean, it’s always part of who you are. For someone like Nicole Atkins, whose music has been so deeply inspired by her upbringing near the water, the devastation hit particularly hard. What once was is now gone. Friends and family were displaced; homes were destroyed, flooded, or burned down. You can get used to the unpredictable temperament of the weather by the ocean, and you understand what a big storm might mean. But you never expect something like Sandy.

“People say, ‘It’s a once in a lifetime storm!'” Nicole tells us. “But it makes me really worry when people say that because it would be such strain for us to go through this big rebuilding, only to have to do it again in a year. Or even five years. Or ten years.”

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Blank Realm, Go Easy

Earlier this week we spilled quite a bit of pixel dust in praise of Blank Realm’s LP Go Easy, out now via Fire Records. As such, we thought we’d conjure up the opportunity for one of you to get your hands on the release, on glorious pink vinyl.

“Blank Realm has been knocking around Brisbane, Australia for over half a decade, spurting out small-press underground rumblings on all sorts of formats. But with the release of Go Easy they are swaggering confidently into a bigger spotlight.

The record actually came out last year and kicked up a fair amount of positive dust, but in the end that response just wasn’t satisfactory, for the UK label Fire Records has recently given it another well-deserving and higher-profile press, this time on pink vinyl. Listeners favorable to a meeting of Royal Trux’s more rocking moments and the raggedy thrust of the current garage scene should find it a keeper.”

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TVD Recommends:
of Montreal at Flying Dog Brewery, 5/25

Flying Dog Brewery is known for its rare and experimental beers, so it is fitting that of Montreal will be taking the stage this Saturday for the first of their 2013 Summer Concert Series. Enjoy a Raging Bitch Belgian IPA with mango and habanero while taking in the Georgia band’s musical theatrics. Not sure you could have a better Saturday afternoon, so trek it to Maryland for a colorful start to your long weekend at this 21 and up event.

Polyvinyl Records artist of Montreal released their latest album Paralytic Stalks last year, which brought a toned-down live version of the usual theatrics. Don’t put down your freak flag quite yet! Whether the outfits are nude-colored spandex suits or most recently shirts and ties, you can always count on being surprised by some form of risqué on stage.

You never know what you will get, so get your spot on the lawn, as it’s not every day of Montreal brings their own stage and production for your entertainment. Get there early to buy Kevin Barnes a beer and enjoy an afternoon of music, rare beer, and food trucks from 5:30-9pm.

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Hugh Bob and The Hustle: The TVD First Date

“I remember a very specific time as an adolescent when records, tapes and CDs all had their own sections of my local music store. Deciding between the three musical mediums was extremely confusing, and often limited to genre specifications (as if puberty wasn’t already hard enough). I was attracted to the physical size of records, but new releases were often pricey. And I never thought that CDs would truly catch on. Tapes became my preferred aural delivery method; cheap and they’d play in my General Electric boom box.”

“Spending a lot of time in the basement, I slowly started to creep my father’s record collection. It was a standard “dad” collection, featuring plenty of Doors, Moody Blues, Jim Croce, and Simon & Garfunkel…all things that were not very exciting to a 6th grader who just saw Nirvana play on TV. Then, I found a copy of Molly Hatchet’s Flirtin’ With Disaster. Never actually hearing the band before, I remember thinking that my dad was a secret hesher, based off of the album cover alone. I had to hear this!

After a couple of seconds into side A, I was convinced that the record in the jacket was not the correct match. I kept looking at the cover while listening, getting frustrated that there was no mention of warlocks, death angels, and danger. So, I did what any normal kid would do–buy another Molly Hatchet album to see if their earlier records sounded anymore like their album covers.

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Some thoughts on the Mother’s Day second line shooting in advance of tonight’s benefit

Tonight Tipitina’s will host a benefit for the twenty people who were injured in the 7th ward shooting on Mother’s Day. Performers scheduled to appear include Bonerama, The Revivalists, The N.O. Suspects, Donald Harrison and the Congo Square Nation, the Hot 8 Brass Band, and the Stooges Brass Band. I wrote this essay last week.

I have been attending second line parades for over twenty years on a near weekly basis. There are some parades, like the 128-year-old Young Men’s Olympia Jr.’s procession of five divisions with six brass bands on the third Sunday in September, which I never miss. There are other parades like the Original Big 7’s annual Mother’s Day parade that attempted to celebrate a 10th anniversary this year, which I have never attended.

I have witnessed violence and felt the ever-present threat of violence. I have always taken seriously the various similar messages at the bottom of each club’s route sheet—leave your dogs, guns, and attitudes at home.

At one of my first parades in Central City, shots rang out. Hundreds of parade goers reacted like veterans of a foreign war—they all dropped to the ground. I was left standing—a lone naïve white face towering over a multitude of black faces of all ages.

Years later, the Rebirth Brass Band was leading a second line in Gert Town. A rumor circulated like a virus on a cruise ship. Phillip Frazier, the leader of the band, was being targeted. Tensions soared all along the parade route. While the parade was at a stop on a side street off Earhart Boulevard, sharp pops in the distance provoked the crowd. A mass stampede ensued, but by then I knew ducking and covering was better than possibly running right into the gunman. The pops turned out to be fireworks, but the parade had been ruined.

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The Single Girl:
UNMAP, “When to Lead and When to Follow”

German band UNMAP seem to have arrived mysteriously out of nowhere and, boy, are they making an entrance. Their debut single “When to Lead and When to Follow” is an intriguing and promising start and one of the strongest tracks we’ve heard in 2013 so far.

The track builds almost staccato-like with Mariechen Danz’s mesmerizing and unusual deep female voice holding the melody together. It’s hard to place where the band’s influences lie, but as the chorus breaks fans of HAIM will be pleased with the sweeter side to Danz’s vocals calling out like a bewitching indie priestess.

There are elements of MS MR here but a little Blonde Redhead-esque chamber pop too—it’s a great mix of styles and this little taster will leave you wondering where the band are headed next.

The single is supported by the Heart Island remix of the track and the band are expected to release an album in the Autumn. UNMAP are certainly an exciting prospect and prove their label, Sinnbus, continue to churn out top quality bands.

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Graded on a Curve:
Cult Hero, “I’m a Cult Hero” b/w “I Dig You”

Some call it an inspired gag, others dismiss it as a mediocre lark and a few select oddballs are downright determined to overpraise it to the rafters, but one thing’s certain; “I’m a Cult Hero” b/w “I Dig You” is a true curiosity. Perhaps that should read Cure-iosity, for Cult Hero was a brief early digression for UK Goth titans The Cure, featuring the band with a handful of added help, most notably a pub-haunting postman named Frank Bell on lead vocals. While it’s not really well-suited to accompany the midday mope of a cardigan-clad sad sack as they sip from a cup of lukewarm Earl Grey tea, the appealingly minor charms of the 45 are surely worthy of a retrospective salute.

Back in the second half of the ‘80s, as part of a small group of post-punk acts that managed to hang around long enough and grow in stature to become one of the initial bands in the first wave of the marketing-based non-genre known as Alternative music, The Cure came to be esteemed by quite a few as underdog survivors. But simultaneously, the outfit was on the receiving end of an uncommonly high level of flack.

They were reliably disparaged for such miscalculations as horrid dress sense, ludicrous hairstyles, overzealous and poorly applied makeup, banal subject matter, trite lyrics, ham-fisted song construction, and brazen music-video clowning. And these assessments were often spouted from folks who actually professed to like the band.

Observers who did not enjoy or even downright hated The Cure could frequently be found seething over the very existence of the group, deriding them as an affront to the cherished modes of acceptable rock and roll behavior. The derision of these bitter sorts reliably focused upon bands of the Alternative persuasion (to say nothing of newfangled Rap music), but The Cure seemed to catch a little extra opprobrium, many because they seemed to have no problem with being perceived as ridiculous.

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TVD Live: Kitten
at DC9, 5/19

It’s a long story, but I almost didn’t make it to DC9 on Sunday night. Luckily, I walked upstairs to the nearly-full venue and made my way through the crowd toward the front right before the band pushed past me to take the stage. As soon as Kitten hit their first note, I knew this was going to be one of those exciting shows where the energy sticks with you for a long time after—and that missing it would have been a mistake.

On Sunday night, the much-hyped, new wave, post-punk, dance act performed a loud, youthful set lacking in pretension and surprisingly mature and genuine. Currently touring with Paramore and having played the Fillmore Silver Spring the night before, this was a unique opportunity to see Kitten as headliner.

At this point, talking about Kitten’s youth screams cliché. Yes, the band’s frontwoman is all of 18 years old, the black underage “X” visible on her hands as she holds the mic. And yes, the remaining four band members were also born in the 1990s. But as they’ve been together for three years, have two EPs under their belt, and are readying the release of their first full-length album this summer, it’s quite a misnomer to call this band “new.” With a stage presence belying their age, Kitten makes it clear that while the members might still be young, they are at the beginning of a very long career.

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15 ways to make your (and my) Sasquatch experience not absolutely terrible

Let me be frank: music festivals are awful. They are magnificently unpleasant. All of them. There is almost no other way to spend $350+ and have a worse time, other than maybe flying coach to the Midwest three days before Christmas.

That being said, this will be my sixth year attending Sasquatch. My first S’quatch was in 2006, and I went consecutively for the following four years. The 2010 festival was, barring Massive Attack’s STUNNING performance, such an abysmal waste of three days that I, during the dark, rank, exhausted drive back, swore I would never, ever go again. Ever.

Worst. Ever.Going to Sasquatch is like getting waxed: after enough time has passed since you last had your hopes and dreams ripped out through your bleeding follicles, you forget the pain and gloss over the memory. Soon enough, you’re back on the table, writhing in agony, wondering what the hell you were thinking.

And, so, two years since I last subjected myself to the dirty, loud, hot, overpopulated nightmare that Sasquatch has become over the past five years, here I am with a four-day pass and a rough schedule of bands to see.

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Posted in TVD Seattle | 1 Comment

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