Monthly Archives: April 2014

Graded on a Curve:
Ted Nugent, (s/t)

How do I hate Ted Nugent? Let me count the ways. I hate Ted Nugent because he’s a crypto-fascist patriot (dirtiest word in the English language) Cro-Magnon who wears a loincloth. I hate Ted Nugent because he’s a Republican, although I guess I’m repeating myself. I hate Ted Nugent because he’s a symbol of cool to all those straightedge jerks too dumb to know that the road of excess leads to the palace of wino-dom.

I hate Ted Nugent because he said he found man-on-man sex repulsive (although he added he’d never judge another man’s morals) and because he proved he was an idiot by hosting his own reality show, in which he bow hunted humans in Birkenstocks. He also built an outhouse. Presumably so as to have a place more comfortable than a deer stand to write his looney-tunes political diatribes.

Now, let me count the ways I love Ted Nugent. I love Ted Nugent because he has a wife named Shemane. This is so close to Shemale as to be suspicious. I love Ted Nugent because he dodged the Vietnam War, even if this does make him a Grade A hypocrite. I love Ted Nugent because he once said, “I will personally cut off my dick and eat it! I will cut my cock off on The Ed Sullivan Show and chew on it. That is what I’ll do if the new album bombs.” I love Ted Nugent because the lead singer on Ted’s1975 solo debut Ted Nugent bears the hilarious moniker Derek St. Holmes, a name so positively Spın̈al Tap it’s uncanny. Finally, I love Ted Nugent because Ted Nugent is a most excellent record, even if (like me) you consider the Motor City Madman a poltroon.

Nugent, as everybody knows, got his start with The Amboy Dukes, the Detroit band that bequeathed us 1968’s psychedelic Meisterwerk “Journey to the Center of the Mind,” which Nugent later claimed he didn’t know was about drugs. One wonders what he thought it was about–two guys crossing the desert of Ted’s brainpan on a horse with no name? In the mid-seventies he went solo, and a Nuge was born. He began his solo career with a bang and Ted Nugent, which combined wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am sonic assaults (“Stormtroopin’” and “Motor City Madhouse”) with one prolonged guitar exploration of inner space featuring a wrestling metaphor.

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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, preview, download.

PUJOL – Pitch Black
Tanner – Where You Go
Rig 1 – Duality
Hundreds – Please Rewind (La Boum Fatale Remix)
IRie Idea – Good On Paper
Porter Robinson, Mat Zo, Marcus Schossow – Sea Of Voices Dilate Summer Nights (Artec & Triarchy Edit)
Bonda Ft. Rich Andruws – Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop (Prod. By Heartbeatz)
Futurecop! – Eyes (feat. Lyon)
Morning Ritual – So Cold
The Valery Trails – Hollywoodland
The Jean Jackets – This Is My Day

Indianapolis Jones – Not Ghosts Yet

The Wonder Revolution – Wonder Lensed
Bad Suns – Salt (Peter Thomas Remix)
Rush Midnight – Closer (Tokyo Police Club Remix)
Angela Perley The Howlin’ Moons – Hurricane
Owenstone – Summer Lane
Japan Soul – War
Frances England – Light Brings Color
The Penelopes – Time To Shine
Bastard Mountain – Meadow Ghosts
Trophy Scars – Gutted
Sye Elaine Spence – Is This Love

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Last week I happened to catch the Nightly News. Brian Williams nonchalantly delivered a short report on the discovery of a planet he described as “Earth-like.”

Yes, outer space (along with the music business) is “the final frontier.” We now know there lies a place 3,000 trillion miles away. You don’t have to be an A&R guru to look at Planet Kepler-186f and know something is going down—way out yonder.

This week’s Idelic Hour poses a simple question, “Is anybody out there?” Seeing a photo of this familiar looking world, the thing that came to mind was the first couple of lines of the Bowie classic, “Life on Mars.”

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TVD Recommends: Margot & The Nuclear
So and So’s at the Grog Shop, 4/27

Peel back the onion that is the history of Margot & The Nuclear So and So’s and you’re in for a really interesting journey.

Back in 2005, they were seemingly poised to be indie rock darlings with the release of Dust of Retreat, a monumentally underrated piece of indie rock/chamber pop/folk rock that walked a fine line between intricate songwriting and controlled chaos. While the record was an achievement, the live shows were a revelation. They were loud, raucous, and a must-see live act.

Then things changed. Not sure if it was necessarily for the better or worse, but they definitely changed.

In 2008, they were signed to Epic records and after recording in both Indianapolis and in Chicago, they couldn’t agree with Epic over which songs to include on the release. So (I guess) both parties said “what the hell” and released two records that year, Animal! (the record the band wanted to put out) and Not Animal! (the record the label wanted to put out). It’s esoteric to have the discussion which is better, but both moved into a more eerie and dark sound, away from the energy of Dust of Retreat.

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TVD Recommends:
The Word at the Joy Theater, 4/26

The Word—featuring John Medeski, Robert Randolph (pictured at top), and the North Mississippi Allstars—will reunite for this special Jazz Fest after-show for the first time since 2012. It will be the supergroup’s only performance at Jazz Fest and one of only three shows the band is currently scheduled to play. The other two are in New York.

The idea for the band originated nearly fifteen years ago, when Medeski, Martin and Wood joined the North Mississippi Allstars on tour. In 2000, The Word became a reality when pedal-steel guitar master Robert Randolph joined Medeski and NMA in the studio to record their self-titled debut. The 2001 release was hailed as one of the best albums of the year and the group toured briefly to promote the record before each returning to their respective careers. The show at the Joy Theater promises to be a rare treat, the likes of which have not been seen in over two years.

The Word is an all-star group of musicians, boasting multiple Grammy nominations among them. All are masters with varied resumes, making The Word a true collaborative project drawing from a variety of genres, with a distinct emphasis on rock, blues, and gospel.

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Needle Drop: The Kooks, “Melody Maker”

The Kooks new material seems to be drifting to extremes. While the title track from their new EP Down sounds unbearably derivative of James Brown, the fourth track, “Melody Maker” finds its inspiration in the harmony laden pop of the 1960’s British Invasion.

The intentional low-fi quality of the acoustic guitar sets the demo-esque tone for the track. It is a clever approach to coax the right vibe out of the Kinks influenced songwriting. One song in particular that comes to mind when listening to “Melody Maker” is The Hollies “Bus Stop” with its comparable bouncing melody and perfected harmonies.

The Kooks have always been a definitive UK band, but have never slathered on the retro syrup as thick as this. Above all, it seems to be the distinctly English take on life that allows for such a classifiable sound. With their built-in ear for melody, all the boys had to do was sit down and channel some their forefathers’ riffs.

With the rest of the EP drifting into the realms of funk, garage and Americana, I guess the The Kooks felt it would be only right to pay homage to their homelands history. It just so happens that the songs last-minute, off-the-cuff feeling insures its beauty.

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Our Jazz Fest Picks
for the First Weekend

Saturdays at the Fairgrounds during Jazz Fest have become the biggest days mostly by design by the fest’s organizers. Today is no exception with Phish, Robert Plant, Robin Thicke, Branford Marsalis (pictured at top), and Boz Scaggs crowding the biggest stages. Get there early to get ahead of the critical mass.

Stay off the beaten track and check out some of the lesser known artists and first time performers from Brazil. But also consider heading by the Book Tent at 1 PM. Yours truly will be signing his latest tome—Not Just Another Thursday Night: Kermit Ruffins and Vaughan’s Lounge.

Forroteria plays a style of music from Brazil—Forro—that bears an unmistaken similarity to the zydeco music of Southwestern Louisiana. So it’s fitting that their first appearance at Jazz Fest will be on the Fais Do Do stage, which is the traditional home of local zydeco bands.
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Jake E. Lee: The TVD M3 Rock Festival Interview

The countdown has drawn to a close, and the annual M3 Rock Festival, the late Spring celebration of the hair metal glory days of the ’80s, begins this evening with the “Kix-Off Party” at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD.

Leading up to M3, we spoke first with Lita Ford, Sebastian Bach, and Brian Wheat of Tesla. Next, we had a chance to talk to Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Michael Sweet of Stryper.

For our final M3 interview, we to talk to former Ozzy Osbourne and Badlands guitar hero Jake E. Lee. Jake has been laying low for a while, but has returned in a big way with his new band, Red Dragon Cartel. We talked to Jake about Hendrix, sampling, M3, and of course, vinyl.

See you tonight at M3!

What have you been up to lately?

I just finished a leg of the American tour. We hit the east coast, down to Florida, did the Monsters of Rock Cruise, on the road for about five weeks. We get a week off, then start back up with the M3 Festival. Then over to Europe.

Give us your thoughts on playing the M3 Rock Festival.

I really don’t know anything about festivals. We’re doing some over in Europe too, and I’ve had people come up and congratulate me for getting on these festivals. I am completely unaware of what any of this is. I haven’t really followed what bands do. So, playing the festival—I don’t know. I’m not even sure…how many people is it?

It’s an amphitheater, typical summer “shed” venue. I’m not sure of how many it holds.

Hmm…yeah, see, I wouldn’t even know. It looks like it’s the same bands that were on Monsters of Rock, a lot of whom I know, so that will make it fun. I’m assuming it will be to a fairly decent-sized audience. That will be different, especially for the rest of the band. Me, it’s a festival, which is different from playing a club. A club is more intimate, and maybe is more conducive to musical exploration onstage, whereas at a festival it’s more a physical expression, I guess you could say. When you play festivals, it’s more of a bigger-than-life scenario.

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Graded on a Curve:
Small Faces,
Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake

I loved Cap’n Crunch with Crunchberries as a kid. I especially loved the Crunchberries, those red carcinogenic balls of pure goodness that I always saved for last. But when I became a man I put away childish things—except for my GI Joe, of course; you’ve got to draw the line somewhere—and I now begin every day with a heaping earful of Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake. It sounds better than Cap’n C.—bigger, bouncier, crunchier, and far more Mod—and it’s more nutritious too. I pour the LP from its round cereal box sleeve onto my turntable, drop the needle on the first savory helping, and exclaim, “Here comes the Nice!”

In my ‘umble opinion the Small Faces were the most versatile of the great Mod bands. The quartet had it all; they could kick out the jams like The Yardbirds; were as fixated on British mores and bourgy social life as the Kinks; as Mod and in-your-boat-race (when they felt the yen) as the Who; and as psychedelic (on such cuts as “Afterglow” and “The Journey”) as Pink Floyd. And they combined all of these trappings—wrapping the whole shebang in some thick English accents, and even adding a weird uncle of a narrator, Stanley Unwin, to contribute some “looney links” between tracks—on their undisputed masterpiece, 1968’s concept LP Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake.

Odgen’s Nut Gone Flake is both the Small Faces’ greatest and final statement, for they broke up shortly thereafter, Marriott departing to form the long-stemmed heavy blues/soul/boogie band Humble Pie, and the rest of the crew joining Jeff Beck ex-pats Rod “The Mod” Stewart and Ron Wood to form The Faces. (Notice, if you will, how it took two rooster-haired personages to fill Steve Marriott’s swank Chelsea boots.) But what a last hurrah! Unless you count 1969’s posthumously released The Autumn Stone, which you shouldn’t, as it’s a sub-par mish-mash of odds and sods that Andrew Loog Oldham cobbled together to siphon every last shilling he could from the Small Faces.

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TVD Live: Boy George
at the 9:30 Club, 4/21

The one and only Boy George took to the stage at the 9:30 Club on Monday to a sold-out and exhilarated crowd. The legendary performer transformed the venue into one of the most delightful and most steadily grooving show experiences that I have attended in quite some time.

It has been quite a while since the English superstar has performed his new wave, reggae-inspired sounds here in the US, and to say he was well-received by his audience would be a dramatic understatement.

It might have been the fact that Boy George pulled some of his most anticipated Culture Club classics from the vault, playing mega-hits such as “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?” along with “Karma Chameleon” and “Church of the Poison Mind.”

It also could have been that he threw some pretty iconic cover songs into the mix from artists like Bob Dylan and T. Rex. But, over all, I think the amazing show experience can be attributed to George himself. Not only is he dearly loved by his fans, but the man brought all the talent of a true world-class performer to his live show. Boy George delivers all of himself and truly sings with the voice of an angel. He could have performed anything on that stage, and it would have touched the nerves of the entire crowd.

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TVD Live: Queens of the Stone Age at Bill Graham Auditorium, 4/17

Queens of the Stone Age (1 of 19)

The past couple of weeks have been a cornucopia of amazing shows thanks to San Francisco being a strategic pit stop on the way to Coachella. The true standout of the mass pilgrimage to the Southern California desert turned out to be the almighty Queens of the Stone Age. The capacity crowd that night at Bill Graham Auditorium was about to witness the performance of a lifetime.

The show kicked off with an old-school, movie-style countdown, and the moment the numbers ran out, I think the Earth moved, as in the big one had actually hit the West Coast. That very second Josh Homme and company made a defining statement through a blast of pummeling rock ‘n’ roll. (Think Maxell-tape-guy-in-the-chair kind-0-blast.) That statement was, “Put your f**king seat belts on because you’re in for a wild ride.”

Queens of the Stone Age (1 of 5)

Holy hell, these guys delivered the goods. Opening up with the classic “You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire,” I thought that Satan himself was about to make a guest appearance by popping out of the stage and condemning us all to hell. Luckily that didn’t happen, and the band quickly jumped into another masterpiece, “No One Knows” which continued the celebration of the modern masterpiece, Songs for the Deaf.

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Jazz Fest without Breaking the Bank, Week One

Jazz Fest can be an expensive, albeit fun, endeavor. Many visitors and locals alike are dismayed when the end of April approaches and it becomes clear how much two weeks of merriment really add up to. With gate prices at the Fairgrounds at $70.00 this year—and many after-shows costing upwards of $50.00—fun doesn’t come free. However, never fear funky friends! We’ve got you covered. We’ve scoured the web and talked to promoters and locals alike to bring you our low-cost and free (!) picks for the first week that won’t lighten your wallet too much.

The Dragon’s Den will host local favorites The Quickening on Friday April 25. Known for a repertoire heavy on both Grateful Dead covers and originals, this is a natural choice for Phish and jam band fans on a budget with entry at the door a mere ten dollars. Blues band Big Danko opens.

The following evening, Saturday April 26, Chris Mule (pictured at top) of Honey Island Swamp Band will host an evening with his side project, The Perpetrators and pedal steel guitarist Roosevelt Collier of the Lee Boys. Those who enjoyed Honey Island’s set at the Fairgrounds earlier that day will find this to be another, great low-cost option ($10). Ian Cunningham of the Upstarts opens. The venue will also host electronic dance parties in the upstairs portion of the club both nights until dawn.

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TVD Recommends Wreaths release party at Asbury Lanes, 4/26

I’ve already devoted portions of this space to lament the long, bleak Winter that cascaded over the shore for the last few months, so in the spirit of giving fair time to optimism, I’m here to let you know it kinda-sorta-may be over—the part of the Asbury boardwalk not being renovated has been re-populated with doe-eyed weekenders getting themselves adjusted to being outdoors once more.

Outside the bars and clubs, smokers no longer huddle together for warmth and are even joined by others who want nothing more than to come outdoors for some of that fresh sea air blowing off the Atlantic, and of course, windows are rolled down so passing cars can obnoxiously blast potential Summer anthems into the ether.

For good or ill, Summer on the Jersey Shore approaches.

So, while a band named Wreaths might not (in name anyway) make one think about the sunny promise of Summer, they probably should.

If you’ve been hanging around Asbury Park at all the past year, they’ve been tough to miss—veterans of the Saint, the Stone Pony, and Asbury Lanes where they will be again, this Saturday to celebrate the release of their self-titled debut album on Killing Horse Records.

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Our Jazz Fest Picks
for Day 1

The festival that music freaks have been waiting for all year kicks off at the New Orleans Fairgrounds at 11 AM tomorrow morning. It’s the 45th iteration of event. Here are some tips for getting the most out of opening day.

This year the Jazz Fest celebrates Brazil. The connections between New Orleans and the South American country are numerous. The first Brazilian group to hit the stage is BaianaSystem of Bahia on Congo Square stage at 12:25 PM. Bahia is the state in Brazil which has the most similarities to New Orleans. This group is not a traditional ensemble, though. They delve into hip-hop and reggae while staying true to their African roots.

Grab a bite to eat or something to drink after their set and head over to the intimate Jazz and Heritage stage. There you will find a parading group from Brazil bearing many similarities to our own Carnival traditions. Afoxé Omô Nilê Ogunjá hails from Pernambuco—a state in northeastern Brazil.

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Queensryche’s Michael Wilton and Stryper’s Michael Sweet: The TVD M3 Rock Festival Interview

The frost is gone (well, mostly), the warm weather is coming, and with it comes another season of outdoor music festivals and amphitheater shows. As if wagging a defiant middle finger at the Fireflys and Coachellas, the annual M3 Rock Festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD has become the late Spring celebration of the hair metal glory days of the ’80s.

Now in its 6th year, the M3 Rock Festival will feature two days of music on two stages, with artists such as Tesla, Kix, Lita Ford, Night Ranger, Extreme, and Stryper among others.

Earlier this week, we spoke with 3 M3 artists and we had a chance to talk to 2 more M3 artists just this week leading up to M3 on Friday—Michael Wilton of Queensryche and Michael Sweet of Stryper. We got their take on M3, vinyl, and quite a bit more.

What have you been up to lately?

Queensryche has been up to a lot of new developments. We’ve been touring for the last year on a very successful release of the self-titled Queensryche CD. It’s garnered very great reviews all over the world, and we’ve toured n that all over the world and the U.S., and right now we are still continuing that through this year, and going into the studio later this year in between touring to begin the next album.

Give us your thoughts on playing M3 Rockfest.

Well, I have lots of mixed thoughts on M3, but it’s always been a great situation for me, personally. I think with this new rebirth of Queensryche, we will prove to the fans that the high energy Queensryche is back, and we are very grateful for the chance to revisit the M3 festival.

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