Monthly Archives: September 2014

TVD Live: Karen O at the Great American Music Hall, 9/22

Of course you know Karen O as the eclectic frontwoman of the critically acclaimed Yeah Yeah Yeahs and as a fashion idol among the masses of hipster girls, but there’s a side to her that many of us have probably been missing. Last week Karen stopped by San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall for one of the few intimate shows in support of her newly released solo album, Crush Songs.

The show sold out in minutes and the venue would provide the perfect backdrop for her stripped down solo debut. Recorded in 2006 and 2007, Crush Songs is an intimate collection of lo-fi, bedroom recordings in the vein of Karen’s Oscar-nominated “The Moon Song” from the Spike Jonze movie Her. Perfect timing for Karen after performing the song live to a record 43 million viewers, the largest audience for the show in 14 years.

Photographed by Jason Miller-5-2

Joined on stage by the ultra-stripped down duo of Moses Sumney and Holly Miranda, Karen O was stunning in her gold dust woman styled, long sparkly dress. She seemed to be in sort of trance as she sang each of the songs, barely opening her eyes at all to see the capacity crowd. The lighting was at a bare minimum that evening while the trio performed under a neon lit sign that appropriately read “Crush Palace.”

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Locate the exclusive, indie Gold edition of
The Rural Alberta Advantage’s Mended With Gold LP with the TVD App!

“I still remember opening the first box of vinyl that we received from Saddle Creek. We were playing a show in Minneapolis at the 7th Street Entry. There was something about seeing Hometowns on vinyl for the first time, holding onto a tangible product that was in a way a summation of every show, practice, and recording session that we’d done up to that point that made you feel like you’d actually created something.

When you hold something like that for the very first time, you actually feel like you’ve maybe done something special.”
Nils Edenloff

Special, indeed. The Rural Alberta Advantage returns with a brand new LP, Mended With Gold this coming Tuesday, (9/30) and its arrival it being met with anything but faint praise, with Filter noting, “The band shines in its own ability to blend pared-down composition with fast-paced percussion and lyrics that could only come from, well, rural Alberta.”

“The Toronto-based trio, led by born-and-bred Albertan Nils Edenloff are full of nostalgic songs about hometowns and heartbreaks, marrying salt-of-the-earth acoustic rock to energetic rhythms and grand orchestral arrangements,” Pitchfork recently underscored.

Another facet of Mended With Gold’s arrival is the gorgeous clear vinyl with gold splatter edition (shown above) of which 1,000 were pressed as a mom and pop shop, indie exclusive edition. Of the 1,000, 250 were offered as presales which sold out in a proverbial flash—but 750 have made their way across North America and they arrive in your local shops on Tuesday for purchase.

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India Mill,
The TVD First Date

“My own memory of vinyl is just it being there because my mum had so much of it. I remember getting singles on vinyl such as “T.U.R.T.L.E Power” by Partners In Kryme (still have it) as well some stuff by Paula Abdul and Madonna. I was tiny and happy.”

“When I was 10, my Uncle died, who was a big character in our family and one who was very musical. We inherited most of his records and there was so much. As I got older and more curious about wanting to know who he was outside of my fading memory, I used to play the records almost as if to see if he was there inside them. That sounds cheesy and sentimental but it meant that I discovered people like Buddy Holly, Marty Robbins, Ben E. King, along with Fats Domino and all these wonderful songs. There was so much in there.

As my brother and I both progressed into our teens, my older brother became a huge Guns ‘n’ Roses fan (he saw the first leg of the Use Your Illusion tour at Maine Road while Izzy Stradlin was still in the band!) and I remember my mum and me going to Castle Records in Darwen to buy him a copy of Skid Row’s Monkey Business. It was a 12” single and the cover had this picture of a gorilla with a crow-bar in its hand. It was fantastic and it made me laugh for days. We also bought him Hey Stoopid by Alice Cooper. However, being at opposite ends of puberty, I followed my nose towards my mum’s Beatles’ collection, which is where my love for songs really kicked off…

The sheer size of vinyl was something that was in some ways great because it meant that you could really take in all the artwork, but once CDs came along then I didn’t really miss it ‘cos it could also be a massive pain in the arse—but then nostalgia is a much bigger pain the arse. I do think that vinyl, tapes, CDs are all representative of a time when people felt much more of a physical ownership over their music, as well as being of a time when albums were a work as a whole rather than the latest collection of songs.

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TVD Recommends:
The Head and The Heart
at the Civic Theatre, 10/1

This Wednesday, the Seattle favorites will be bringing their indie-folk rock to the Crescent City. The roots rockers are arguably the biggest grassroots success story in recent memory.

After recording and releasing their debut album on their own dime in 2010, the band was able to sell 10,000 copies by word of mouth alone. This is an impressive feat for any unsigned band, especially given the fact that so many people no longer buy music. And these fans weren’t just some teenyboppers.

They garnered the respect of such varied acts as Vampire Weekend, the Dave Matthews Band, Death Cab for Cutie, and My Morning Jacket, touring with many of the big names while they were still an unsigned commodity.

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The Single Girl: Mano’s Daughter, “Shiver” EP

Mano’s Daughter’s latest EP “Shiver” presents a darker, more cerebral side to the London-based electro trio. With these five tracks, it marks a busy end to the year for the band as they retreat into Autumnal hibernation.

Their previous EP, “Smart” was bright and poppy—it was the “Jessie Ware-esque end” of the female fronted electro pop crossover genre with intelligent, sparkling tunes that glittered in the gloom. This latest EP starts with the same pace as “What’s A Girl Supposed To Do” bursts into life and invigorates with an energetic opening. However, this is only the start of our journey as the band take us down darker paths as the EP journeys on.

“Wheels” is the first step into the unknown as Sarah Carter’s vocals soar and penetrate the dark empty spaces, forcing us to listen closer. “Little Heart” opens the door for a little melancholy and with “This House,” it’s hard not to imagine Sarah beautifully lit in a smokey alien lounge somewhere on a distant futuristic plain—a little Blade Runner—and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, it’s their epic track “You” that gives us an indication of where the band will take us next. The track spans just over 7-minutes and feels like the band are truly blasting us off into a dreamy soundscape, on a moon somewhere far away. It’s beautiful.

Although there’s an abundance of strong female fronted electro crossover acts at the moment, Mano’s Daughter’s unique genre blending, electro sci-fi melancholia is a breath of fresh air. The EP is a bold statement of intent and wherever the band blasts off to next, we want to go with them.

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Graded on a Curve: Ultimate New Orleans Brass: Second Line Funk!

Thoughtfully assembling 13 tracks from long-established names to younger bands, Ultimate New Orleans Brass: Second Line Funk! not only serves as a primer into one of the USA’s last remaining actively played forms of indigenous music, it’ll most assuredly enliven any shindig requiring a pick-me-up. Released this past August, on 10/7 it gets a deserving double-vinyl pressing.

Amongst the deepest elements in 20th century recorded sound are the constant twists and turns fostered through regional identities. In the US alone, along with numerous outposts in Appalachia, the Mississippi Delta, and of course New Orleans, the 1900s saw enduring styles emanate from Chicago, Detroit, Nashville, and Memphis.

Furthermore, smaller but essential scenes popped up in Bakersfield and on the Texas-Mexico border as distinct punk rock rose out of NYC, LA, and elsewhere. Post-punk aftershocks also rippled from Athens, GA and Seattle, WA as coastal (and frequently competitive) individualism helped to define an era of hip-hop.

These days, at least in the US, regional flavors are an extremely rare occurrence, which is part of the reason Ultimate New Orleans Brass is such a welcome endeavor, spotlighting the city’s brass band style as born from the foot parades sponsored/undertaken by various community organizations and benevolent groups. They constitute the First Line and the band and its followers the Second; it’s a tradition very much alive and therefore thankfully not dominated by purist attitudes and/or the kid-glove museum approach.

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Needle Drop: The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, “Animals”

Here’s a nice psychedelic freak show from GOASTT, the band otherwise known as The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, otherwise known as Sean Lennon, who is otherwise known as John Lennon’s son.

Sean’s girlfriend, actress/model Charlotte Kemp Muhl, is also in the band and they truly seem to have some bewitching musical chemistry with their heady lyrics flying over the busted drums, junkyard percussion, and fuzzy bass. An ode to the alternative rock and roll swagger Lennon Sr. helped refine during his “I Am The Walrus” period—perhaps pushing the boundaries a little more, at least with this wild music vid.

The psychedelic video for the single “Animals” sets out to spoof the Source Family and all things wacky and occult. Wait for the UFOs ’round the 4:00 mark, and be sure to catch Sean and Charlotte on their current tour.

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TVD’s Garden State Sound with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot of offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history that many people remain unaware of. Everyone knows about Springsteen and Sinatra, but there’s more out there too, including a diverse current music scene.

Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore music with connections to New Jersey. You will hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.

Garden State Sound is hosted by longtime NJ radio personality and musician Evan Toth on WFDU.FM.

“This week’s episode of “Garden State Sound” celebrates the 65th birthday of the Garden State’s golden boy, Bruce Springsteen. Tune in to hear us spin some deep, vinyl tracks from his early albums, but we’ll also take you for a ride through some of Bruce’s contemporary work. Spend an hour listening to some of the Boss’ finest work, and contemplate how the man keeps himself in such great shape after 65 years!” —ET

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Nina, The TVD First Date

“The first time I ever heard a vinyl record was when I was just a baby. Since my dad is a technical guy and an inventor, we were never short of new gadgets in my family. He owned one of the latest, state-of-the-art turntables at the time and kept an extensive collection of ’60s, ’70s and ’80s records (both international and German artists) in our home in Berlin.”

“He was a big fan of Duran Duran and The Police and, in fact, he even looks a bit like Sting.

Unlike my dad, my mum was always more inclined to Disco and had lots of cassette tapes, which were handy for singalongs on long drives to Denmark for our family holidays. She owned a record player too, but didn’t use it that much so she gave it to me as a present a couple of years ago.

When I moved to London in 2004, I bought my first vinyl album. I went to Camden Market and fell in love with the variety of music there, but for my first vinyl purchase, I chose LA Woman by The Doors.

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Stiff Little Fingers’
Ali McMordie,
The TVD Interview

One album that is an essential for any collection is Stiff Little Fingers’ Inflammable Material. Released in 1979, Inflammable Material introduced the world to a quad of high energy boys from Belfast, Ireland who had something to say about their home during a time of major political conflict which was often violent and lasted three decades.

Songs like “Wasted Life” and “Law and Order” revealed frustrating and angry realities for Irish youth. Though Jake Burns and Ali McMordie are the only two original members still touring and recording as Stiff Little Fingers, the spirit and rawness of Inflammable Material will always carry through to old and new fans of the band.

A couple of weeks ago, I had the honor and pleasure of talking to Ali McMordie, the bassist who rejoined the band in 2006 after having been away for about 10 years. McMordie gave me an earful on working in the music industry for over thirty years, playing Chicago’s Metro for the first time, and a bit about getting back into the studio to record STF’s excellent new album, No Going Back.

As soon as I reminded him that this interview would be published at The Vinyl District, he immediately launched into how much vinyl plays into his life everyday.

I buy vinyl records, I always have done and I still have the records that I started collecting as a kid—some of which are still in storage in Ireland. But I bought a lot of them over here. Now I’m based in Brooklyn and I still occasionally DJ roundabout a dozen or so gigs, about a dozen or so pubs and clubs in New York. It’s old school. It’s all vinyl and it’s great because I get to play a lot of all my old records which I have to say are a lot of old punk rock 45s from the late ’70s and early ’80s.

It’s great to be able to get out there and share the love. Sometimes I even get paid! You’ll find that because vinyl is all mechanical you know, it’s all turntables and cables and sort… half the time I spend my time fixing the various rigs that I’ve come across because they are never looked after.

Getting paid to play you’re favorite records, on vinyl no less, sounds like a lot of fun. 

Outside of that, it’s a labor of love and I really enjoy it. I’m glad you’ve found it! One of the great things about traveling is that I get to sniff out various record stores and I still like record browsing which, at one point, I think us record browsers were a dying breed.

It’s good to see that it’s on the comeback. You know, you just go into the store without any particular idea of what you want to get and you just pick something up because it has a nice cover or something you know, because vinyl, that 12” format, is really the best for the artwork—and CDs never really cut it, or digital downloads of course. I was amazed to see that places like Urban Outfitters for example, like clothing stores and accessory stores, are stocking albums, and even stranger than that, a lot of kids that are buying albums—some of them don’t even own a record players. They are buying them as collectibles or just for the artwork to display on your wall—and that’s fine! That’s great, and then use the MP3 download to listen to on the iPod.

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Graded on a Curve:
Spade Cooley &
the Western Swing
Dance Gang,
Shame on You

Western swing musician, big band leader, actor, nationally known television personality, and cold-blooded killer—you’ll have to look really hard to find a resume more varied than that of Donnell Clyde “Spade” Cooley. And you’ll also have to look even harder to find an album with a more appropriate title than Shame on You, seeing as how Cooley brutally murdered his wife in 1961 by pounding her head on the floor and then putting out a lit cigarette on her body to make sure she was dead. As if that weren’t horrifying enough, he forced his teenage daughter to witness the murder, saying, “You’re going to watch me kill her.”

It has become almost impossible—and appropriately so—to write dispassionately about Spade Cooley, the so-called King of Western Swing, given Spade Cooley the private citizen’s status as a convicted (and particularly bestial) killer. Cold-blooded murder will always be what Cooley’s best remembered for—thanks in part to noir writer James Ellroy, who has made Cooley a recurring character in his fiction—regardless of his musical accomplishments, which were considerable.

Cooley, who was part Cherokee, was born in 1910 in Grand, Oklahoma, a lovely part of the country that the Cooleys fled for California come the Dust Bowl in 1930. (Grand is now a ghost town.) Cooley’s skill on the fiddle and good luck saw him take over Jimmy Wakely’s big band after Wakely got a movie contract, and soon Cooley and band’s shows at the Venice Pier Ballroom were packed. By the mid-forties Cooley was a superstar of sorts, renowned for his songs (Shame on You came out in 1945 and led to six straight Top Ten singles) as well as for his numerous roles in films. And come the advent of television he conquered that medium too, with The Spade Cooley Show drawing in 75 percent of Los Angeles’ TV viewers each week, to say nothing of the viewers nationwide who tuned into his show, which was broadcast coast-to-coast by the Paramount Television Network.

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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, purchase.

Haley Pharo – Sorry For Not Being Sorry (Dekoder Remix)
Carl Barât & The Jackals Share Debut Single – Glory Days
BeazyTymes & Debroka – To The Floor
Stereo Off – Effectual
M o s a i c s – Submit
Brandy & Monica – The Boy Is Mine (FVLCRVM Remix)
Maxim – Phase Me
Eric Zayne – Drugs And Kids
Figure – It’s Alive Featuring D – Styles (Original Mix)
White Sea – Prague (:PAPERCUTZ Remix)

Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons – Ghost

Jonnie Common – Shark
Jo Mango – Evermore (The Cormorant Remix)
Ladada – Give It Back
Oozing Wound – Drug Reference
n.Lannon – Dreamer
The Foregin Resort – Flushed
Daft Punk – Aerodynamic (SunSquabi Remix) ft. Povi Tamu
The March Divide – I Told You So
Brian Lopez – Persephone
Tina Shafer – Strange Life

5 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

By way of the Jewish calendar, today is the first day of 5763. I’ve never actually been a “practicing Jew.” With my wife and son being part Cherokee Indian, I like to think of our family as “Schmo-hawks” of a “spiritual kind.”

Yes, I’m happily a very new age Californian. I claim myself a spiritual being while riding the 134 to the 5 to the 605 to the 405 to the 73 to the 55 to the sea. There I look west towards the grand Pacific Ocean to meditate on the past year and pray for the future.

I do it in my own way and thank my Jewish ancestors for keeping track all these years. Rosh Hashanha 5763 reminds me to stop working, emails, and making radio shows for a day and reflect…

Ok, I did that yesterday.

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Another Top 10 list?
The History of Rock
’n’ Roll in Ten Songs

by Greil Marcus

“The story we’re telling is about imprisonment, but the music we’re making is about freedom, the tiny moments of freedom you steal from a life you don’t own, that doesn’t belong to you, that you have to live.”

Greil Marcus tells the rock ‘n‘ roll story better than most.

His 1975 book Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock n’ Roll Music managed to present an in-depth tracing of the essence of American rock music, choosing such artists as Harmonica Frank, Robert Johnson, Randy Newman, and Sly & the Family Stone as case studies. Marcus used these artists as jumping off points to tell his larger tale of the history of the American persona. His classification of “the worried man” as the constant character of The Band’s song catalogue is a testament to his ability to treat rock music as literature, giving the genre due analysis.

In The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, Marcus does what he does best: he gives credence and worth to the world of rock and roll and its history. He reminds us that it matters, and he forces us to reflect upon what the history of rock and roll will look like to monorail riders of the future, when he lists the entirety (three-plus pages) of the inductees to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which covers most of the greats, some not-so greats, and leaves out many more (Warren Zevon! HARRY NILSSON! and so on and so on…)

Rock and roll is much more than this list of inductees. It is much more than ten songs. But there is a quark of its essence deep within each one; pick any ten rock songs and the history of rock is there. Marcus knows this; in a sense, he uses this playful title to simultaneously debunk the myth of the idea of the list and endorse the necessity of its creation in order to give it more gravitas.

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The TVD First Date

“Before I could even lift a needle, my relationship with vinyl was a visual one.”

“Our old record player had long since retired, so my dad’s records remained on the shelves next to the CDs, or in a musty box behind the old coats, or tucked under an old photo album. Still, I would shuffle through each one, running my tiny fingers over the covers, examining every little nuance. From Rush’s Moving Pictures to Steely Dan’s Aja, listening was not required to spark my fascination.

It wasn’t until high school, when I finally had some (small) income, that I finally bought a used record player off the internet. It arrived with a frayed wire in the back (which I still have to doctor with electrical tape), but I paid no mind and immediately got to work. I remember excitedly heading over to Bart’s Record Shop after school (in my hometown of Boulder, Colorado) and buying the first record of my own: The English Beat, I Just Can’t Stop It. Only $8? A steal.

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