Monthly Archives: November 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving! We’ll return live on December 1.

While we’re away, why not fire up our free Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record shops? Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Monday.

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TVD Live: Will Dailey direct to vinyl in-store at The Record Parlour, 11/21

PHOTOS: KELSEY HENG | The Record Parlour is small but graciously stocked establishment that along with the record store is a museum for music geeks. The walls are adorned with unexpected and subtle gems like a framed photo of Dean Martin with an autographed cocktail napkin, a very early one page “fill in the blank” music publishing agreement, a bust of Elvis, an old cigarette machine, an enlarged painting of Bowie’s Diamond Dogs cover, a ceramic Joker lamp, and plenty of other eccentric delights to occupy the eyes.

The event kicked off with a DJ spinning vinyl that he picked out of crates from song to song while Will Dailey fans and friends congregated and enjoyed some crate digging and libations until just after 8pm when Will Dailey and crew ripped into their blistering set. The most comprehensive way to describe Will is an “absolute pro.” Will is an artist’s artist, a brilliant songwriter, master showman and beast of a guitar player.

The Record Parlour, although small boasts a real stage with a PA and is equipped with just enough backline (and some stellar vintage gear) to host an entire band. Will Dailey kicked his set off with “Sunken Ship,” the first single from his latest album National Throat and followed that with eight stellar tracks of older fan favorites, including this nerd’s personal favorite, the Wilco-esque, “Down the Drain,” and newer songs from National Throat rearranged for the live setting.

Will rocked up the banjo driven, “Higher Education” with no banjo and haunted the audience with the dream inducing “Castle of Pretending” with his perfect falsetto. The band also, to the crowd’s delight, dropped in a clever and stellar cover of Arcade Fire’s “Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains).”

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TVD Recommends:
FKA Twigs with Boots
at the Republic, 11/29

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER FROM THE METRO IN CHICAGO, 11/13 | FKA Twigs is the girl you need to know about right now. The stunning Brit just released her first full-length album, and critics have lauded it everywhere as, “The record you need to listen to immediately.”

And we agree. In fact, we don’t just think you need to listen to Twigs ASAP—you should go check her out live at the Republic this Saturday.

Fans can expect a show filled with the sexy, ethereal, R&B infused electronica that has pervaded the songstress’s previous releases. While concertgoers are guaranteed to gyrate ever so slowly and seductively, this is not just baby-making music. FKA twigs is also a surprisingly keen lyricist. She is liberal with swear words and obscenities on tracks such as “Two Weeks,” and her music’s jagged edges belie the incredible emotion and longing that permeates her work.

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Graded on a Curve:
Sylvie Simmons, Sylvie

Sylvie Simmons has been a part of the scene for decades, but as a noted journalist and biographer, not as a musician. Sylvie changes that state of affairs; released this week through Light in the Attic, it offers a striking combination of Simmons’ voice and ukulele with additional instrumentation and production by the estimable Howe Gelb. It’s one of 2014’s most welcome debuts.

The Los Angeles correspondent for the UK weekly Sounds, chronicler of that city’s ‘80s metal explosion, and the subsequent LA source (under the pseudonym Laura Canyon) for the metallic rock mag Kerrang!; from just these informative tidbits one could jump to an inaccurate conclusion regarding Sylvie Simmons’ first LP.

Please throw these morsels of knowledge into the picture; interviewer of a wide range of musicians, upstart fictioneer, biographer of Neil Young, Serge Gainsbourg ,and Leonard Cohen, writer of liner notes for assorted high-profile projects and maybe most germane to Sylvie, longtime Americana columnist for Mojo Magazine.

With all these credits it’s no shock Simmons has gathered a few noteworthy connections. Along with acquiring the services of Giant Sand’s Howe Gelb as producer for Sylvie (except one track guided by the hand of Chris Schultz) Simmons’ inaugural effort has garnered positive words from Brian Wilson and Devendra Banhart, the praise indicating not only the strength of her tunes but also a savvy blend of timelessness and contemporary appeal.

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Congo Sanchez, seeing 20/20 on the new Dealin’ With This

Percussionist. Producer. Humanist. Congo Sanchez has many issues on the dome. He uses his musical talent as an unapologetic way to speak to the social maladies of recent times. And the facts will inevitably outweigh the opinion. Listen to his latest effort, Dealin’ With This, in its entirety. It’s a very introspective album that challenges ideas of social exclusion, isolation, and marginalization.

Dealin’ is the first full album released under Sanchez’s label Herb Records. On it he assembles a crew of talent that represents the signature diversity of the District.

Sanchez oversaw the production of Dealin’ under the spiritual influence of talents such as Beck and Pink Floyd. Further, he says he views Miles Davis as an inspiration. About Miles, “his licks on the trumpet were the same, but he surrounded himself with musicians with different styles.”

On the subject of varying styles, the album features the vocal talents of band members Flex Mathews and Haile Supreme. Sanchez maintains a solid, fraternal relationship with the two vocalists. He says of the two, “We respect our musical intuitions very much, and there is no beating around the bush.” Mathews and Supreme’s mix of respective hip-hop and ethereal vocals are the center of the album’s narrative. In the track “Stand Beside Yourself,” Supreme’s meditative voice encourages the listener to look at DC from the outside-in.

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UK Artist of the Week: Petter Carlsen

Norway’s Petter Carlsen releases his third album Sirens this week. Carlen’s unique voice, harrowing lyrics, and beautiful melodies have become his calling card but Sirens is even deeper—it’s a more personal record as Petter says some of it was inspired “by a girl.”

It’s easy to compare Petter to fellow Scandinavian bands like Mew as he bends electronic and organic elements together creating a compelling sound, but it’s the more intricate moments that are the most inspiring.

The album is released on UK indie label Function Records and is available as of yesterday.

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Graded on a Curve:
Ariel Kalma,
An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972-1979)

World-traveler, multi-instrumentalist, recording technician and spiritually questing denizen of the ‘70s avant-garde; all of these descriptions apply to Ariel Kalma. The current moment is particularly opportune for getting acquainted with the man’s early stuff, as RVNG Intl has just unveiled An Evolutionary Music (Original Recordings: 1972 – 1979), a bountiful compilation of previously unreleased material carefully selected by Kalma and the label. All the necessary info is included, and the 2LP/ 2CD/ digital package coheres into a welcome survey of a highly worthy subject.

It’s well-established that as the 1960s progressed many musicians became bored by the perceived restrictions of pop and rock, with numerous artists introducing other elements into their stylistic equations. Others rejected pop/rock completely for the possibilities of experimentation in jazz and electronic music.

That’s the case with Ariel Kalma. Like a handful of his generation he’d been knocked sideways by the innovations of Albert Ayler and Sun Ra, though he did in fact travel extensively in the band of Belgian pop singer Salvatore Adamo. It was but a stepping stone to greater things; he was soon to join the quartet of bossa nova guitarist Baden Powell.

By the mid-‘70s, after his crucial purchase of a ReVox G36 reel-to-reel two-track tape machine, Kalma was employed an assistant engineer at Institut National Audiovisuel, Groupe de Recherches Musicales (or as commonly known, INA GRM) the pioneering studio formed in 1951 by noted sonic specialist Pierre Henry, a lab utilized by such important 20th century figures as Luc Ferrari, Michaël Lévinas, and Iannis Xenakis.

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With a new EP, James Bay steps into his own spotlight

James Bay’s headlining performance in Dallas last month was somewhat of an accident.

On tour with fellow U.K.-born singer-songwriter Hozier, Bay was supposed to open the night for everyone’s new favorite artist. So when Hozier fell ill, upsetting and even outraging hundreds of ticket holders, Bay could have cancelled his set as well. Instead, the show went on, for free—with the young Brit assuming the headlining spot.

A happy accident it was, indeed, as Bay quickly proved that the spotlight is where he belongs.

“We met with the venue a few days before the show, and they’re like ‘Do you want to headline?’ So, I said sure,” says Bay. “Everyone got online and on Twitter and told some local press that Hozier had cancelled, but the opening act James Bay is going to play, so come down; it’s a free show. Which is cool, and totally fair. And still, all those people came down. It was really cool.”

Bay is referring to the 100 or so people who came out to the Kessler Theater that night. Not exactly an ideal sized audience for an artist who, back home in England, is headlining—and selling out—shows for 700 or more.

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TVD Recommends: Turkey Jam with the New Orleans Suspects, Paul Barrere (Little Feat) and more, 11/28

Tipitina’s is the place to be on the night after Thanksgiving for a massive throwdown.

Over the past year or so, the New Orleans Suspects have welcomed long time Little Feat guitarist Paul Barrere on stage. The Suspects’ bassist Reggie Scanlan (The Radiators) has a longstanding friendship with Barrere based on their mutual love of the New Orleans second line groove. Over the 30+ year career of the Radiators, he sat in with them numerous times.

WhenBarrere they first started jamming with the Suspects, they would basically just play Little Feat songs. But over time Barrere (pictured below) began learning the Suspects’ material, so now he feels comfortable playing whatever makes the set list on any given night.

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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.

“Okay, okay, I hear you! We’ve only done a dozen episodes and here we are doing a second full show dedication to Bruce Springsteen. Excessive? Sure. Reasonable? Absolutely.

The whole point of this show is to share the wealth of music that is available in NJ, but Bruce’s shadow looms large. Just in time for your holiday shopping, the Boss has released a box set featuring the first seven albums of his career: it is available on vinyl, CD, and digitally. What’s most exciting about it is that five of the seven albums have not been remastered until now. This program features the freshly remastered tracks so that you can enjoy Bruce in all of his remastered glory.

So, convince the bossman to let you leave the factory a little early, pick up your best girl, and ball the jack down the parkway whilst pondering the many tangled complications involved in attaining the American dream.” —EZT

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Graded on a Curve: Abelardo Barroso,
Cha Cha Cha

The name Abelardo Barroso sits at the very beginning of the Cuban record industry. 78 rpm discs captured him, and a sheer talent for performance insured his fame. By the mid-‘50s Barroso’s renown had withered, but through a convergence of circumstances he returned to the limelight. Cha Cha Cha is World Circuit’s terrific compilation spotlighting the vocalist’s fruitful involvement with Orquesta Sensación, the noteworthy band directed by Rolando Valdés.

The songs Sexteto Habanero cut in 1925 under the auspices of RCA Victor are considered square one for recorded Cuban music. Abelardo Barroso’s singing on those tracks made him a star, or more accurately, helped to make him one; along with the RCA sides a spate of 16 numbers Barroso sang in New York for Brunswick as a member of Sexteto Bolona establish his ability for the ages.

Born in 1905, Barroso was of a time where the stage was still the thing. In fact, his ‘30s prestige at the forefront of the danzonette period, its large-bands replacing the fervor for the guitar-based son ensembles a la Sexteto Habanero and Bolona, is barely preserved on record; only a solitary ’39 78 by the Orchestra Maravilla del Siglo.

This is mainly due to the Depression; enter hard times and exit RCA, Columbia, and Brunswick. By the ’50s though, Cuban records were being waxed through independent homegrown companies like Panart and Jesús Gorís’ Puchito, the latter an aspect of what Cha Cha Cha’s substantial liners describe as “a perfect storm.” The other factors were Rolando Valdés’ tip-top band Orquesta Sensación, the group’s arranger/flutist Juan Pablo Miranda, and of course Abelardo Barroso.

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Glyn Johns:
The TVD Interview

Glyn Johns’ career as an engineer and producer has been so successful that it almost seems like a Hollywood script. To tick off his list of collaborators is to name many of the most influential artists of the rock era: The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, The Who, The Small Faces/Faces, The Kinks, Eric Clapton, Neil Young, Paul McCartney, The Eagles and legions more.

While there is an element of right place, right time in his story, his simple yet extraordinary gift of capturing the authentic, organic sound of musicians playing together in a studio is remarkable. When “Good Times Bad Times,” “Satisfaction” or “You Really Got Me” explodes out of your speakers, it’s because Glyn Johns had the good sense and skill to get it down on tape correctly.

While on a book tour to promote his new memoir, Sound Man, we had the opportunity to speak with Glyn in Nashville recently to discuss just a fraction of his work. Smartly dressed and full of energy, he sat down at the interview table, ready to get on with it.

We spent decades as a culture working on better and better music reproduction fidelity, only to throw it all away for the convenience of having 5,000 songs in our pocket. What has the shift to MP3 done for the listening experience?

Oh, it’s dreadful! Not only is the sound bad, nobody listens to complete albums anymore. They just pick and choose tracks. Attention spans are minimal. The worst thing about digital recording is that bands don’t record all in the same room anymore. Songs are built track by track. When the guitarist, for example, is putting down his performance, he is reacting to the tracks already recorded. The problem is, the musicians already recorded can’t react to him! When everyone is playing together, there is a back and forth, a give and take that happens almost subconsciously. My fear is that this method of recording is becoming a lost art.

Of course, some artists are very successful recording this way (digitally), obviously. I don’t necessarily like their music, but our parents didn’t like our music, either.

Do you still listen to records?

Yes! There is nothing like that experience. Back when I first started buying records, there was the excitement of rushing home to listen to it, or going over to a mate’s house who had a better system and listening to it there. Much of what I listen to these days is digital, as it is sent to me in file form, demos and whatnot. But I try to listen to these files in the best way possible.

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Graded on a Curve: Jackson Browne,
The Pretender

Jackson Browne is the thinking man’s Eagles. Or perhaps he’s merely the pretentious man’s Eagles. Because while the Eagles were singing about the Hotel California, Browne was playing existential philosopher, and questioning whether we’re not all pretenders playing roles, and thereby slowly laying waste to our souls. But Browne is less the philosopher than he thinks he is, and is deep solely by LA standards, which is to say he’s rock’s equivalent of the Los Angeles River, and has spent his career as a singer-songwriter plumbing life’s epistemological shallows.

Browne’s fate will always be intertwined with that of the Eagles; he wrote one song and co-wrote another (“Take It Easy”) on the Eagles debut, and they were all urban cowboys in denim at a time when LA was basically a dude ranch for cocaine-fueled country-rockers, most of whom spent inordinate amounts of time sipping tequila sunrises in David Geffen’s hot tub. But Browne never wrote a song as good as the Eagles’ “Life in the Fast Lane,” probably because debauchery was never his area of expertise. His muse was Henry David Thoreau, whose line about most men leading lives of quiet desperation became Browne’s abiding theme. Browne was intrigued by the quotidian banal and the spirit-squandering fate of the Everyman, and nowhere did he explore these themes as extensively as he did on 1976’s The Pretender.

Browne began his music career as a member of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, and then went on to write songs for everyone from Nico—with whom he was romantically linked—to Gregg Allman, Linda Ronstadt, Joan Baez, and The Byrds before finally striking out on his own with his 1972 debut, Jackson Browne. The Pretender was Browne’s fourth LP and was released after Browne’s first wife committed suicide, which no doubt helps account for the album’s somber tone. And it featured the contributions of dozens of musicians, some of them horrible people (David Crosby, Don Henley, Graham Nash) and many of them studio pros. His regular band (David Lindley, etc.) was also on hand, as were the likes of Lowell George, Bonnie Raitt, and Roy Bittan.

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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.

Nutronic – Steps Descend
Wasted Wine – The Post Office
Little Arrow – Medicine Moon
Del Sur – Melted Down
M!NT – Out The Vault (Reprise) Feat. PWEST
Night Panther – Desire
Nina Simone – Black Is The Color (Of My True Love’s Hair) (ISTILLFEELIT Remix)
Wet Paint – Gold Lights
Colleen Green – Pay Attention

Nicole Atkins – Red Ropes (Live)

Gwyneth Moreland – Pine Box Sailor
Ayler Young – Caught Up
Purple Crush, Raja & Josh Peace – Shock and Awe (Tittsworth Remix)
LORDE – Yellow Flicker Beat (Antennae Rework)
Sporting Life – Tsunami
Willy Joy & Buku – Punani
Daktyl – Stay (feat. Dive Deep)
Dan London – Bob Fosse Dreams of Napoleon in Leather
Nite Fields – You I Never Knew
Gene Clark – I Saw A Dream Come True

8 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It’s been a long year and finally a cool, Fall breeze has reached our warm canyon—our little sliver of the polar vortex. Thanksgiving week is upon us. This week’s Hollywood farmer’s market will likely feel like a nightclub. Funny, I bet I’ll run into some former ’80s clubbers on the prowl for yams.

Back when I was in a band I tried to write a song about “cooking.” Years down the road, it’s no surprise that the general public finds cooking food sexy. The sounds of a sharp knives and classic rock in a kitchen, the smell of fresh organic veggies and herbs…bliss…

Personally, I prefer cooking breakfast. Has anyone seen the Jon Favreau film Chef? There’s a scene where Favreau cooks for his son. It’s breakfast to perfection and it’s so well filmed. Man, I totally related to cooking a perfect breakfast.

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