Monthly Archives: November 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

We’re off for Thanksgiving and will return on Monday, 12/2.

Why not catch up on some of the interviews you might have missed, or our LP reviews, live reviews, or if it’s a podcast you’re craving we have 2—from Manchester, UK or from the winding hills of Lauren Canyon.

And if you are up to date, fire up TVD’s Record Store Locator App and visit your local mom and pop retailer! Odds are you’ll find one of us right next to you.

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We’re giving back on Black Friday and Small Business Saturday with free Sillyboy singles all around town…

Last February we launched our most ambitious undertaking yet, TVD500—a recurring competition where we and our esteemed partners, Infrasonic Mastering, Furnace MFG, and Dorado Music Packaging mastered, pressed, designed, printed, packaged, and delivered 500 copies of a winning 7″ single—on us.

The winner of our competition, chosen by our celebrity panel of judges, was Sillyboy, the Athenian (as in Greek) tour de force whose full LP Nature of Things has quickly become a favorite. His winning single, “Supply Chain” is TVD Records’ very first release and Sillyboy’s first foray into US markets.

Well, those 7″ singles of “Supply Chain” are presently in hand and we along with Sillyboy have decided to give back to the local Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia record stores and friends by giving 10 to the following list of shops for them to give away FREE—and to give a little back to the scene that nurtured and embraced us at the very outset.

And it’s a reminder that recurring holidays needn’t be overt cash grabs to nurture something as important as your local brick and mortar, mom and pop record shops—and small businesses of every stripe.

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TVD Live Shots:
Nicole Atkins at
Moscot Music, 11/21

“There should be a couple here making out and dancing in front of us right now…and crying,” mused Nicole Atkins, before kicking into “The Way It Is” at Moscot Music last Thursday.

Among many other humorous insights throughout the set, Atkins embraced Moscot’s small size and kept the music strong, loud, and intimate, even playing to the fans who had to watch the show from outside the store windows.

Her new band (supposedly going under the name Groove Police) made sure the energy never died and kept the show tight and rocking all the way through.

Atkins’ new record, Slow Phaser comes out on February 4th, 2014 and fans—and yet-to-be fans—have plenty to look forward to.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Firesign Theatre, Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him

In 1968 The Firesign Theatre, a comedy troop consisting of Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David Ossman, and Philip Proctor, began an excellent string of releases with Waiting for the Electrician or Someone Like Him. While not their best work, it is the place any newbie should begin. The smart and surreal environments the disc offers remain unique in the comedy universe, and the rewards are sharply in tune with the long-playing vinyl format.

The comedy album’s rate of productivity remains strong enough in the present that one need not worry over the general health of the form. Yes, people still want to laugh, and to this day the desire of comedians to offer up their art through the medium of records remains, even as the status those performers acquire through the making of said documents has been lessened substantially.

Indeed, the heart of audio-only comedy continues to beat rather strongly, but what was once something like a cultural institution is now closer to a niche genre, largely because the market has always been dominated by the style known as stand-up. Commencing approximately in the 1960s, the boom for stand-up LPs lasted for decades, mainly because it was the easiest way to hear these comedians at extended length, and just as importantly, in uncensored form.

But comedy as performed in night-clubs, halls or auditoriums is also Performance Art, and by far the most widely accepted example of this often derided mode of expression. Throughout its peak years, comedy fans had three main options; the attendance of a show, catching a dose via television, most commonly on late-night talk shows and later premium cable services like HBO, and the purchase of LPs for home enjoyment.

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Jerry Shirley of Humble Pie Talks Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore,
The TVD Interview

Jerry Shirley was just seventeen years old when Steve Marriott plucked him out of (you can’t make these things up) a Small Faces cover band and asked him to play drums for Humble Pie. It was a brief, beautiful, rock and roll dream come true for Shirley and bandmates Peter Frampton (who was himself only eighteen at the time), Greg Ridley, and Marriott. Their hard-edged sound blended snarling R&B with precocious musicianship that overshadowed headliners, enthralled audiences, and set the tone for what hard rock would become.

Back when live albums could make a band, Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore made Humble Pie. Rockin’ the Fillmore captured their intense energy so well that it quickly went gold. The original LP was essentially a sampler of songs from several raucous shows at the legendary Fillmore East. But our friends at Omnivore Recordings turned Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore into a remastered box set that includes the seven original songs and fifteen previously unreleased performances (including the entire first show, none of which made it onto the original LP).

The remastering of Rockin’ the Fillmore was supervised by Shirley and Peter Frampton, and the result is a spectacular experience. In our conversation with Jerry Shirley, he talks about the legendary album, why he thinks the Fillmore East is so iconic, and what it was like to be part of one of the most underrated yet most influential hard rock bands of all time.

You were discovered playing in a Small Faces cover band by Steve Marriott. What was it like to be “discovered” by your hero?

It was wonderful, obviously. What was really strange about it, and this is not anything but the truth, but I’d actually dreamed that what happened…happened! I had a dream that I was opening up for them, they watched me from the side of the stage, and they smiled and gave me the “thumbs up.” After the show, they came up to me and said, “If ever Kenney (Jones) gets sick, you could be the stand-in.” I swear to you the next night… I found out after a little while that we had got a job opening up for [The Small Faces] and what I dreamed exactly happened. I found out years later that my father had a little bit of a hand in it, in as much as he was actually helping the guy promote the show. He was a local promoter who needed help booking a hall or something.

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Eddie Roberts of the New Mastersounds
for Wednesdays at the Maple Leaf

The guitarist from the British soul-jazz band will be playing with a variety of local musicians. This week he has Jermal Watson on drums, Nigel Hall on keys, and Eric Vogel on bass.

Roberts is part of a new generation of musicians who treat the music of the Meters as a stepping stone to other funky and soulful styles. His group has been developing a following in New Orleans after some wonderful performances over the past few years.

The music on Wednesday nights at the Leaf will take a decidedly jazzier approach on December 4th when Roberts is joined by Khris Royal on sax and James Singleton on bass. Jermal Watson will return on drums.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Eagles,
Hotel California

Everybody hates the Eagles. I hate the Eagles. You hate the Eagles. God hates the Eagles. Even the Eagles can’t stand the sight of each other, and as for real eagles, of the sort that soar majestically above the desert arroyos in the hopes of espying Don Henley and carrying him off to devour him and then pick the tequila-flavored gristle from their beaks at their leisure, they hate the Eagles too.

So why am I writing about the Eagles? Because much to my shame I’ve been lying through my teeth and sorta actually like the band, despite the fact that they’re poseurs (as Tom Waits once famously said, “Those guys grew up in L.A. and they don’t have cow-shit on their boots—just dog shit from Laurel Canyon”) and their music is pure product, like hair spray or shaving cream.

But haven’t you ever loved a product so much you’d travel to the furthest WalMart in the tri-state area to find it? True, I have a hard time thinking of a less authentic band—from their early country-schlock hits such as “Take It Easy,” “Peaceful Easy Feeling,” and “Easy Livin’” (which is actually by Uriah Heep, but who’s keeping score?) to their peripherally harder but equally soulless fare such as “Already Gone” and “Victim of Love”—but I too am a victim of love, the kind of love you might have for a vacuum cleaner or an air conditioner or even a sex toy, except there is absolutely nothing sexy about the Eagles, that is unless you fell into a coma in 1972 and suddenly awoke hot for a mustache ride from a guy dressed from neck to ankles in denim.

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Cool RSD Back to Black Friday Releases from Legacy Recordings

I’m not one to jump on the bandwagon over the Record Store Day Black Friday cash grab hullabaloo, but Legacy Recordings has some cool stuff in store that caught my eye for the busiest shopping day in these here United States of America.

And it would be much better to be packed into a local record store looking for these kind of things rather than camped out at Wal-Mart so that you can trample all kinds of women and children in order to get some unnatural deal on the new Play Station 33, or perhaps a set of decorative oven mitts.

Check out this pretty sweet list of stuff. If you’re buying for me, I should like the Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick, and Miles Davis stuff. Oh, and that Sly 7″ too. Thanks:

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TVD Live: Minor Alps
at the Black Cat, 11/19

On Tuesday night backstage at the Black Cat, Juliana Hatfield and Matthews Caws, performing as their new act Minor Alps, treated fans to beautiful new tracks along with some ’90s nostalgia.

Both Hatfield and Caws have a long history in alternative indie rock and pop. Hatfield is best known for her role in the alt rock band Blake Babies, which reached its peak in the late ’80s, as well as her work as a solo artist and with the Juliana Hatfield Three. For nearly the past twenty years, Caws has fronted rock band Nada Surf.

Minor Alps came together naturally, an experiment after Caws and Hatfield guest recorded on each others’ albums and were pleased with how it turned out. But while the origin might have been natural, the process of making the record seems incredibly deliberate. The two co-wrote all 11 songs on their debut Get There, and played nearly all of the instruments as well. While today’s audiences are well versed in acts led or heavily supported by male and female singers harmonizing (see: the xx, Arcade Fire, The Head the Heart), Caws and Hatfield take a different approach with Minor Alps. On nearly every track, they sing together, their voices fusing instead of creating harmonies.

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TVD Premiere: Sharkmuffin, “Soft Landing”

We’ve gone on a First Date, this past October they played one of our CMJ parties, and today we’re delighted to debut Sharkmuffin’s hard charger, “Soft Landing.”

Sharkmuffin’s latest EP, “1097,” was named after the Jersey Shore summer home bassist Natalie Kirch lost at sea during Hurricane Sandy. “1097”‘s final track, “Soft Landing” is the calm after the storm that “TEN TEN,” the song before it, embodies.

“1097” will be released on as a limited edition, multi-colored, oil-spillesque 7″ pressing courtesy of Dazzleships Records on December 11th at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn, NY.

You can pre-order the record here.

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Mirror Talk:
The TVD First Date

“My first vinyl LPs were acquired the evening prior to my departure to the west coast for collage at my aunt’s second floor walk-up in the East Village of Manhattan.”

“Some years ago she disappeared into Europe and returned with an enigmatic English beau. Willowy, formidably learned, a voracious and excellent drinker, he was a charmingly appropriate counterpoint to my aunt’s city-bred free spirit. We three would commonly spend evenings drinking inexpensive Bourbon, smoking rollies, franticly discussing the state of culture in the city, and taunting the roving hordes of invading NYU students from the fire escape above, while the Brit played selector with an assortment of records across a variegated spectrum of genres.

Their shared album collection reflected an approach to lifestyle which I found attractive—manicured, minimal, essential. When the sun came up and evening concluded, they wished me well on my collegiate voyage and gifted me several albums, believing that records, like novels and motorcycle jackets, enjoy a second life in the possession of those for whom such things are new.

They’d both been listening to Sandinista! since the early 80’s, and perhaps took pleasure in knowing that decades later, someone else was to be similarly effected by its disorienting strangeness and ADD genre-hopping. London Calling off the Ritalin. My aunt told me a story about going out drinking in the village one night with Joe Strummer during his time with the Mescaleros. At the evening’s end, he signed her skateboard.

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Graded on a Curve: The New Sound of Numbers, Invisible Magnetic

In 2006 the Athens, GA band The New Sound of Numbers released their debut album Liberty Seeds, and those smitten with the well-built post-punk it offered have no doubt been champing at the bit for its follow-up. Well, the wait is over and Invisible Magnetic, freshly out via Cloud Recordings, is an excellent and highly distinctive second effort from a group of true vets led by Hannah Jones.

The bio of The New Sound of Numbers is loaded with connections. To begin, the band’s guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter Hannah Jones was previously involved with Circulatory System, where she played alongside New Sound of Numbers-contributor and alumnus of The Olivia Tremor Control John Fernandes.

Also figuring in the scenario are Greg O’Connell and Jeff Tobias of the Athens unit Bubbly Mommy Gun. And NSoN’s status as a regional act with partial ties to the Elephant 6 scene is only enhanced by Jones also figuring as part of Supercluster, a Vanessa Hay-instigated venture that also happens to include her present New Sound of Numbers counterpart Kay Stanton.

If Hay’s name is triggering a few buzzers of recognition, it’s almost certainly due to her vital role in the shaping of Pylon, one of finest names in Athens’ musical back-story. And her participation in NSoN surely increases those geographical conditions as they chart a course that’s divergent from what’s commonly thought of as the Elephant 6 sound. Specifically, The New Sound of Numbers eschews a psychedelic orientation; instead they’re explorers and extenders of the post-punk genre.

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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. Click, listen, download.

Juniore – Dans Le Noir
Gildas Season’s Greeting Mix – MiniMix By Jerry Bouthier
Peter Walker – Pretty Bird
The Deltahorse feat. TJ Eckleberg – Hey Yuri
Jon and the Jones – Firebreather
AM Aesthetic – We Caught Fire
Jeremy and The Harlequins – Cam Girl
Lushlife – Toynbee Suite
Trentalange – Same Illusion
The Julie Ruin – Right Home (YACHT Remix)

The Casket Girls – Same Side

Shannon and the Clams – Into a Dream
Nyteowl – Get In It
Dutch Barn – Steal Your Jokes
U.S. Royalty – Into The Thicket
Ha Ha Tonka – Colorful Kids
Kristin Hoffmann – Let Go (Rise of Troy Remix)
Peter Frampton – Do You Feel Like We Do (Psymbionic Remix)
Jess Williamson – Native State
Blancmange – Feel Me (Remixed by Greg Wilson & Derek Kaye)
Bowerbirds – Seven Wonders

15 more FREE TRACKS after the jump!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from the “L.E.S” in Lower Manhattan!

“Let’s go back to the classroom and start doing our alphabet all over.” David Peel, 1978

I’m in my home town of New York City. After a long and deep, dreamy sleep I awoke to find myself high above the skyline of the “L.E.S.,” what we used to refer to as “Alphabet Town.” Nope, I was not making my way to rock ‘n roll heaven—thank god—way too soon for that! No, I had not taken an overdose. I was laying on a hard hotel bed with sheets of a high thread count.

This sleek and spartan room with black wooden floors and floor to ceiling windows looks out on Orchard Street. The interior was designed by Jim Walrod, a friend from the ’80s. Walrod’s rep back in the day was being the master of “fixing up” junk to sell to fancy people on Lafayette Street.

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Graded on a Curve:
John Prine, John Prine

True story: I recently made a date with a woman, and on the day of the date she casually informed me we’d be going to an S&M party, then also casually let drop she’d be bringing a fellow named Lunchbox who just happened to be her boyfriend, and at the S&M party there were naked fat guys walking around in Viking helmets eating blue frosted cupcakes like at an elementary school affair, who watched while I watched Lunchbox whip my date and his girlfriend, after which she produced a trio of very lethal-looking stainless steel knives and proceeded to carve interesting patterns on my torso.

It was easily the weirdest date I’ve ever gone on, and quite possibly the weirdest date anyone’s ever gone on, and I can hear you asking: What in God’s name does any of this have to do with country-folk songwriting genius John Prine?

Well I’ll tell you. I’ve given it some thought, and I’ve come to the conclusion that Prine, who has a voice like a stoned rodeo and a big old homely heart that pumps pure compassion, is the only person in the whole wide world who could somehow manage to capture both the absurdity and yes, the humanity and even the dignity of those naked guys in Viking helmets as they stood around eating blue frosted cupcakes watching other naked people get whipped.

The late Lou Reed, whom you’d think would be the man for the job, would have only made the whole scene seem decadent, which it most certainly wasn’t. Whereas someone with an eye for the absurd, say the late Vivian Stanshall of the Bonzo Dog Doodah Band, would have turned the whole thing into a Monty Python skit, which it most certainly wasn’t either. No, Prine is the only songwriter I can think of who could write a song poking fun at those naked Vikings while empathizing with them as well.

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