Monthly Archives: June 2013

TODAY! The DC Record Fair Returns! Sunday, 6/30 at Penn Social

As we covered last January, it’s often quite difficult 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, June 30, 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: Mikhail Z. (TNT) and Joe Cristando (Northside Soul Club)
12:00 – 1:00: DJ Alizay
1:00 – 2:00: Meistro (Sol Power All Stars)
2:00 – 3:00: Brandon Grover / We Fought the Big One
3:00 – 4:00: Mike Newman / Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records
4:00 – 5:00: DJ As-One

The DC Record Fair is brought you by Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and us!
Our thanks to Eliza Childress for the killer poster!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

What’s the expression, “zero to sixty” or is “full throttle?” As if someone turned on a light switch in the middle of the night—bam, the summer of 2013 is here.

My initial reaction to the arrival of summer is that it’s time for a little “R & R” (as in rest and relaxation.) Looking at the calendar with July 4th falling next Thursday, it seems logical that these next couple of weeks we’ll be sailing on smooth seas.

Being in the music business, I rarely experience logic as a guiding force behind my universe. In fact this week feels far from relaxing. I describe the energy as “WTF, how crazy is this?” I’m talking the kind of crazy you might experience if you treat yourself to the hilarious new Seth Rogan flick This Is The End.

Funny enough, a friend mentioned yesterday that the Astrological chart had changed—Mercury has apparently gone into retrograde. Dig on this…

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TVD Live: Destroy This Place at DC9, 6/27

True story: Years ago, my brother and family traveled to Assateague Island to see the island’s famous wild ponies. They unpacked their things on a picnic table and went for a walk. When they returned, there was a pony guarding the table holding a very sharp knife with the handle in its mouth, waving it about like Phil Spector on PCP. The family fled. When bro and family finally summoned up the courage to return, the knife was back on the table and the pony was gone, along with half their foodstuffs. This friends, is nature. It waves a knife at you and steals your shit.

Which brings us to Detroit, MI’s Destroy This Place. They play a high-octane, no-frills combination of ‘90s indie rock with hints of catchy power pop that charges along like a Koenigsegg CCX, causing your ears to flap back and forth as it sails by. But I’m particularly enamored by “Rifled,” which includes the lines, “We challenge Mother Nature/We gave the finger to Mother Nature/We gave the finger to Mother Nature!” How refreshing to hear somebody say “fuck off” to the wilds, with their frothing-at-the-mouth raccoons, rampaging moose, moaning zombie hikers in rotted tie-dye and frayed Birkenstocks, and chipmunks that aren’t nearly as cute and innocent as they look. “Rifled” is the best anti-nature song to come along since Sparks’ “Never Turn Your Back on Mother Earth,” and I think we should all be grateful to Destroy This Place for writing it.

On 2011’s Resurrect the Mammoth and 2013’s eponymous Destroy This Place, as well as their 2012 split ep with Hospital Garden, Destroy This Place (they’re Ryan Allen on vocals and guitar, Monday Busque on bass and vocals, John Nelson on vocals and guitar, and Sean Sommer on drums) keep the tempos fast while tossing in frantic power pop vocals, razorblade riffs, monstrous power chords, and enough catchy hooks to render Lake Michigan fish free.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Caroline Rose, America Religious (Signed)

Indie upstart Caroline Rose is a name you’re likely to hear more often after her debut album America Religious arrives on record store shelves July 2nd.

Her compositions bridge warm 20th Century singer/songwriter styles and the dry irony of modern observation. We’ve got a signed copy of America Religious on vinyl to give away.

Caroline Rose boasts a heavy amounts of charm through extremely raw deliveries of her songs. The effort America Religious is 12 tracks deep with influences ranging from folk, gospel, and R&B. Along with musical partner Jer Coons, Rose covers all aspects of production and performances on the record.

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Claim Yourself: Help Free The Coppertone

Who’d imagine only a few years ago the paradigm shifts we’re currently witnessing within music industry? Vinyl’s flourishing, CDs have flatlined, and while we can rattle off any number of fantastic record labels, they’re hardly one size fits all (if the majors ever were.)

Canadian singer/songwriter, Amanda Zelina, aka The Coppertone has felt these seismic shifts far too personally. Signed to a label which limited her creative mettle, she departed its confines, head held high—and $20,000 in debt.

In an effort to retain her artistic integrity and to repay the label’s investment, she’s launched an Indiegogo crowd funding campaign entitled Help Free The Coppertone: Claim Yourself which we’re happy to put on your collective radar. We’re kinda big on integrity.

“I love vinyl—there is no doubt about that. As a musician I get no greater pleasure than that first needle drop of a new release on some freshly pressed wax. The tangibility of it, the weight, the smell, the look, the feel, the sound… Oh my god, the sound. Vinyl is to me what a painting on a canvas is to painter. Vinyl is the difference between a digital image on a computer screen and the three-dimensional, textured, breathing piece of art hanging on a wall in front of me.

It’s the soul behind the tactility of its function that inclines me towards it. It is the imperfections of the snaps and crackles dependent on each pressing and each record player and each worn down or new needle that hits it. That to me makes vinyl perfect; imperfectly perfect. It is human. It can warp over time or under different conditions, it changes, it has nuances, characteristics unique to the individual pressing.

Vinyl has integrity and integrity is important.

The first time I heard “Hidden Dreams” on vinyl (the first record I pressed and released independently of my own music on wax) I had a very spiritual experience. The producer of “Hidden Dreams” who I had spent the past 4 years with, who became one of my best friends, my mentor, my right hand man, passed away tragically and very suddenly right before the album went to mastering.

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TVD Recommends: Southbound Drive at Gasa Gasa, 6/29

Tomorrow night is a chance to kill two birds with the proverbial stone. You can check out this hip new venue on Freret Street and hear a great touring band from Austin, Texas.

Southbound Drive is rootsy rock ‘n’ roll that features catchy hooks, enlightening lyrics, and a killer live show. Principal songwriter and singer Scott Collins brings honesty to the stage and sings with forceful energy. Check out the vid for his take on the band.

Lead guitarist Ryan Goebel shifts between soulful guitar lines that tastefully compliment Collins on acoustic guitar. Read More »

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(Re)Graded on a Curve: The Jackie McLean Quintet, Lights Out!

Since 1991, the Analogue Productions label has been doing a dandy job in reissuing music from a variety of genres in editions designed to surpass the quality of their often elusive originals. They are currently offering a superb slate of releases from the vaults of Prestige, the storied jazz imprint that captured so many of the form’s most important names. One such figure was the great alto saxophonist Jackie McLean, and if his reputation deservedly rests upon his copious recordings for Blue Note, by no means should the ins and outs of his early work be ignored. Lights Out!, freshly available in a 180gm edition, would make a fine introduction to the rewarding apprenticeship of this true giant.

Spending time investigating the selections in a second hand record shop’s well stocked jazz stacks can result in a vinyl-loving aficionado of improvisation-based song-form commiserating, sometimes even cursing aloud (I’ve seen it) that they’ve been dealt a cruel hand by time’s tough circumstances. Oh, to be born too late. High-dollar values abound, and when combined with the deluge of choices, the tide can certainly prove more than a bit disconcerting. Yes, the digital age has made it so much easier to at least hear the music (indeed, the most important part) that resides in those very expensive grooves, but for those of us who value the full experience, great jazz and a well-made LP go together like rich, thick peanut butter and lovingly made homemade jam.

The music of Jackie McLean has landed on a formidable number of records over the years. He cut over twenty albums for Blue Note alone, most of them in the ‘60s, and if I had to own only one it would surely be from that period. But thankfully the prospect of only owning one is something I don’t have to consider. And if the ‘60s stuff brings McLean his biggest accolades, his youthful work both as a sideman and in the leadership role not only provides valuable insight into his later studies in advanced bop (which frequently sought a productive dialogue with free jazz), they also stand up as highly enjoyable sessions in their own right.

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TVD Live: Small Black with Go Cozy at Rock & Roll Hotel, 6/25

I recently started thinking that they were one of few bands that really have shone brightly in the 10-year absence of synth pop’s crown jewel, so Small Black’s new album, Limits of Desire, was the perfect ride home from seeing The Postal ServiceFast-forward a week, and I’m seeing them live at Rock & Roll Hotel.

Go figure… Opener Go Cozy arrived late. I kid, I kid. I really like this band. I saw them open for Twin Sister at the backstage of the Black Cat recently and was impressed. Apparently, Twin Sister’s Andrea Estella was impressed, too; she designed the cover for their forthcoming EP, Moonroof. A couple of their songs have the same cadence as Twin Sister’s, so it totally makes sense. Self-described dream poppers, their sound live had more of a ruckus flare to it, especially in the drums. Perfect for the hot summer night. Singer, guitarist, and total character Homero said at one point, “I’m dripping sweat of joy… Who wants to sweat?”

Then, I don’t know if it’s the time spent on the road or what, but the beanie-wearing chubby dude who bounced around in the middle of the stage when I saw Small Black previously at The Ottobar had been replaced by a leaner, cleaner-cut Josh Kolenik. “DC is our home away from home,” announced Kolenik near the beginning of their set. They started things off with a New Chain song, his hand shaking above the sampler, before they delved into new material. Things started to feel comfortable and really begin to mesh by the third song, where the added emphasis on guitar started to become clear.

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Festival Fast Talk with JEFF the Brotherhood

When telling people you’re going to interview Jeff the Brotherhood, those who have already been around the guys usually have one of two things to say: One, that no one works harder, and two, that no band provides better company. So when the chance arose to talk to them at Bonnaroo, we quickly got on board to speak to the noisy pop duo.

As of the past year, the Nashvillian two-piece have been promoting their 7th record Hypnotic Nights with endless touring and festival gigging. We were able to speak to them about extended touring, their upcoming record, and a made-up men’s cologne someone out there will probably wish were a real thing.

How has this year been treating you guys?

Jamin Orrall: Wonderful.

Jake Orrall: Best year of my life.

Hypnotic Nights is your seventh record. Would you guys mind talking to me about the process of writing and recording it?

Jamin: It was very rushed. As all of our records are.

Jake: We tour so much we don’t have time to write songs, so we actually pulled a lot of songs I wrote when I was like 19. [Laughs] Yeah and you know just, wrote the other ones in like two weeks.

Jamin: Honestly, we kind of shat that record out.

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The TVD First Date

“I started collecting vinyl when I was around 13.”

“I had a lot of older friends who were DJs and into all kinds of music. Some of them worked at record stores and would give me records out of their collections because I was so young. It got me hooked. I wouldn’t eat lunch some days so I could buy records with my lunch money. I got into collecting all kinds of genres, ambient, electronic, soul, rock. I loved hanging out at the stores.

My mom would drive me and sit in the car with a book while I was digging. I’m sure I became a little pest asking a million questions and always hanging around. But they were always cool about it and turned me on to music I would have never found on my own. That’s what I think is the saddest part about record stores closing. You don’t have the human interaction anymore.

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Questlove to spin with DJ Soul Sister tonight at Tipitina’s, 6/27

Attention vinyl junkies, dancing freaks, and soul music lovers, the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon bandleader and drummer will be spinning wax at Tipitina’s tonight beginning at 9 PM.

Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson co-founded the seminal hip hop collective, The Roots, in Philadelphia in 1987. He is also an in-demand producer and recently released his first book. He has said that he thought that the job on Fallon’s talk show was going to be his retirement gig, but it turned out to be his dream job because he gets to perform with so many different musicians.

DJ Soul Sister is a longtime programmer at WWOZ-FM 90.7, veteran party host, and crate digger par excellence. She’s a regular on the stage of Tipitina’s performing before and after DJ sets for major touring acts like George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic.

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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 and Bolton FM.

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

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Graded on a Curve:
The Bureaucrats,
“Feel the Pain” b/w “Grown up Age”

Amongst other things, Canada is renowned for producing comedians and playing a whole lot of hockey, but they also have a worthwhile punk rock lineage. One of the lesser-known twigs on that leafy tree was Ottawa’s The Bureaucrats, a band that knocked-out a spectacular 7-inch in 1980 with “Feel the Pain” b/w “Grown up Age.” That record was once the domain of big-dollar spenders, but the Ugly Pop label has given it a much deserved repressing, and anybody with a deeply personal relationship with The Jam’s All Mod Cons or The Buzzcocks’ Another Music in a Different Kitchen should investigate its contents with due haste.

In the annals of punk rock, the coverage of the movement’s Canadian division frequently devotes prominent placement to Vancouver’s D.O.A. And that’s not without good reason, since that group stampeded forth as one of the earliest and finest in Hardcore’s first wave of pissed-off tumult. Indeed, their second album Hardcore ’81 is the meat in a highly tasty and unusually nutritious three album sandwich, with the bread being the 1980 LP Something Better Change and ‘82’s 12-inch EP (later expanded to album length) “War on 45.”

It was D.O.A., and to a lesser extent their hometown cohorts The Subhumans (responsible for the killer ’83 album No Wishes, No Prayers amongst other worthy material, and not to be confused with the Brit anarcho-punks of the same name) that really put Canada on the map for a generation of younger punk fans. And through relentless touring and unflagging political commitment, D.O.A.’s rep really persevered. In fact, it’s continued to linger even as their most productive musical period grows ever more distant in the rear-view mirror of history.

But the truth of the matter is that D.O.A. and The Subhumans were kicking up dust in a country with considerable punk rock achievements already under its belt. Three of the earliest and most notable bands in the land were Teenage Head, The Diodes, and The Viletones, all formed in Toronto during the formative and formidable ’75-’77 period. And part of the reason for this trio’s enduring profile relates to a four-night stand the three bands undertook at New York’s CBGB in July of 1977, with the late Lester Bangs giving them a write-up in The Village Voice.

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TVD Recommends: Insect Ark at Public Assembly, 6/28

Ironically, it was Dana Schechter’s singing voice which drew us to her all instrumental, non vocal project, Insect Ark. Having been far more than a casual fan of her main enterprise, the NYC via Berlin Bee and Flower, we’ve been singing that band’s praises for years.

Dana’s solo endeavor, Insect Ark recently released a debut 10″ “Long Arms,” and she’ll perform under the Insect Ark moniker this Friday night at Public Assembly. Ever the consistent voice of quality, we encourage you to be in attendance. Here’s a bit of official background:

“‘Long Arms’ is massive and slow moving, full of stark vulnerability. Schechter weaves a brooding textural landscape which creates a personal soundtrack to the human psyche’s underbelly. Between sequenced drum beats, Schechter’s agitated lap steel is enveloped by her thunderous bass tone, constantly keeping the music both on edge and all consuming.

Schechter’s live shows are ferocious. She samples, layers, and triggers loops like a one woman orchestra, guiding the sound through quiet passages and blaring crescendos.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: The Specials at the Fillmore Silver Spring, 7/12

“If you were 12 in 1979, The Specials were easy peasy lemon squeezy the greatest band on the planet. If you’re 42 in 2009, nothing’s changed.” Four years later, in 2013, the English 2 Tone ska revivalist band is still keeping things fresh.

Formed in 1977 in Coventry, England, The Specials, or at that time “The Coventry Automatics,” were not just a band who helped revitalize ska, they were a band who helped break down racial barriers in the UK music scene. The Coventry Automatics, later known as “The Specials AKA” and finally “The Specials,” contributed to the anti-National Front cause of Rock Against Racism, an organization that did exactly that—used music as a way to protest against racism.

In a 2008 interview with UK’s The Guardian, founding member Jerry Dammers says, “…it was no good being anti-racist if you didn’t involve black people, so what the Specials tried to do was create something that was more integrated.”

They didn’t just try, they succeeded. The Specials’ contribution to that cause, and of course, their revitalized 2 Tone ska music, hasn’t been forgotten. In fact, the band is currently touring all over North America. The tour includes a stop at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Friday, July 12, and we’re giving away a pair of tickets.

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