Monthly Archives: March 2015

TVD Live: Andrew Jackson Jihad, Chumped, Jeff Rosenstock, The Smith Street Band at the Metro, 3/27

PHOTOS: MICHAEL SOLOMON | Andrew Jackson Jihad came through Chicago’s Metro last Friday, March 27, and they brought a lineup stacked with passionate and lively punk acts. The Smith Street Band, Jeff Rosenstock, and Chumped each provided their own unique style, but there was a distinct common thread shared between all the bands that made for a fantastic overall show.

It had been a couple of years since I’d been to an authentic punk show. Growing up on Long Island, I spent much of my free time going to local punk/ska shows in church basements and neighborhood bars, and these shows taught me that the energy of a great punk show can be something special. When lyrics are shared rather than performed, and when there is a unifying spirit in the room which blurs the line between performer and audience. Friday’s show at the Metro brought back all of these feelings, and reminded me how extraordinary a punk show can be.

Chumped started things off and fit wonderfully as the opener. The female led 4-piece has a sound that lands somewhere between Alkaline Trio and The Get Up Kids, and their upbeat melodies had everyone bobbing their heads. Their catchy “Something About Lemons” contained a strong build-up and climax that landed particularly well with the audience.

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TVD’s 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways, Week 7: Shakey Graves, And The War Came (Signed LP)

As we noted upon the launch of our first of 9 weeks of vinyl giveaways, it’s easy to forget that going on 8 years now when TVD was in its year one (as was Record Store Day) the vinyl medium wasn’t “back,” sales weren’t stellar, and indeed record stores were a fading lot. No, worse actually. Shops we’re closing at such a clip, their disappearance literally informed the launch of the site you’re reading at present.

And as we’ll repeat for 9 weeks—vinyl and record stores go hand in hand. Their shared intrinsic value is the cultural commodity and the bedrock of any local music scene. Don’t believe us though…hit up your locals and the marriage becomes crystal clear. 

But we too have been overwhelmed with the resounding popular and prevalent headlines as to vinyl’s big resurgence, yet they also arrive in tandem with far less rosy headlines such as “Starbucks to Open in Former Bleecker Street Records Space”—and worse, some very bad ideas when one advocates for record shops have, of late, become internet fodder. (Seriously, vinyl subscription clubs are the Carson Daly of record collecting.)

As such, picking up with an old TVD favorite, we’ve lined up 9 (count ’em, 9) weeks of vinyl giveaways as we count down to Record Store Day 2015 to redouble our efforts to underscore the viability and the inherent need for your local brick and mortar record shops to remain the vibrant community touchstone that they intrinsically are. And while we kinda hate hanging out by the mailbox waiting for a record to show up (unless you’ve ordered it from a mom and pop or directly from a label!) we’re shipping out records for 9 weeks straight as sweet reminders that record stores are literally where it’s at.

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TVD Live: Blackberry Smoke and The Temperance Movement at Webster Hall, 3/28

In the year 2015, it sometimes seems difficult to locate real and true rock and roll that’s new and isn’t just a regurgitation of rock and roll from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. This difficulty can be accounted for by any number of elements—auto tuning, the decreasing influence of record companies in the world of musical artistry, and MTV.

A while back Portlandia put forth a brilliant take on what had happened to MTV by placing a pre-teen girl in its leadership position as explanation of its ideological demise. The difficulty in question is just that however, a difficulty—not an impossibility. This past Saturday night at Webster Hall in New York City serves as exhibits A through infinity to attest to this latter fact.

Blackberry Smoke, having released four studio albums since its start in 2000, is most often described as a “southern rock” band, which it is—but this categorization seeks to minimize the band when it should be maximized and subsequently lauded. Blackberry Smoke is a straight-up rock and roll group. The band’s sound is derived from lead singer and guitarist’s Charlie Starr’s spot-on command of each song performed, along with support from fellow guitarist Paul Jackson, bassist Richard Turner, keyboard player Brandon Still, and drummer Brit Turner.

Holding All the Roses is the group’s latest release, and a number of tracks were showcased at the Webster Hall gig, including “Let Me Help You (Find the Door),” “Rock and Roll Again,” and “Living in the Song.” A terrifyingly gorgeous rendition of the group’s emotionally melodic work-of-art-track, “The Whippoorwill” would have stolen the show—if surprise guest Robert Randolph hadn’t stepped out to contribute to “Ain’t Got the Blues.”

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The TVD First Date

“Ahh, sweet vinyl memories. I was very, very young, about four, when I started messing around with LPs. I remember the feel of the covers, spending hours just gazing in awe. Since I became a music nerd as a youngster, I can say besides remembering the feel and the smell of those first vinyl, even say I remember the TASTE of vinyl!”

“Both my parents were cool when it came to music. They were into buying records, going to concerts, and talking music. There was constantly music in our home including vinyl and cassettes with bands that were releasing great stuff around that time (this is late ’70s and early ’80s). Notably London Calling by The Clash, Time by ELO, and Dire Straits (Private Investigations) were some of my most vivid first memories. Hearing these albums still hits me hard and all kinds of flashbacks take me back through time. However, the pivotal albums for me around that time came to be Pink Floyd’s Animals and The Wall.

The Wall and Animals not a fit for a child? Emotionally murderous dramatic music and concepts about the deepest and most hard-hitting subjects, made a daycare nanny that was having me around this time very worried and nervous. I remember my parents and the nanny having discussions about whether I was being harmed by listening to ‘adult’ music.

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Graded on a Curve: Houndstooth,
No News from Home

Houndstooth’s membership hails from numerous points on the North American map, this geographical breadth mirroring musical range that helped to strengthen their 2013 debut. Formed in Portland, OR as a five piece in 2010, in the interim they’ve shed a member, but their follow-up record maintains the diversity of inspiration; indie elements blend with Americana, Classic-rock and psychedelic flourishes as Katie Bernstein’s lead vocals enhance the tunes’ worthiness. No News from Home is out this week on LP/CD/digital via No Quarter.

Houndstooth’s influences are broad but complementary, their music striving for cohesion from inside the melodic rock realm. The sound they make is refreshing and not a bit unusual; at times, in indie terms, Houndstooth can even be described as classicist. To begin, they rely heavily upon strength of material, with each of the band’s full-lengths springing from the songwriting fount of Bernstein and lead guitarist John Gnorski (both originally from Austin).

Graeme Gibson (who moved to Oregon from Canada) plays the drums and produces, and newest edition Cari Palazzolo (also from Austin) rounds out the lineup on bass. Since the group’s inception a pair of contributors have departed the scenario (and on good terms; Courtney Sheedy and Mike Yun, both Detroit to Portland transplants, are listed on Houndstooth’s website as “past pals”), but these changes in personnel haven’t discernibly effected the togetherness of their attack.

All the ingredients were in place for first LP Ride Out the Dark; its stronger moments include the Crazy Horse-tinged “Canary Island,” the crisp Americana of “Wheels on Fire,” the fibrous indie pop of “Strangers,” and the Bernstein showcase “New Illusion.” Additionally, “Francis” could’ve been an entry on a ‘90s Too Pure label sampler, sly Krautrock influence being one of Houndstooth’s aces in the hole, while “Don’t I Know You” tickles the ear like Mazzy Star circa She Hangs Brightly.

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In rotation: 3/31/15

The popularity of vinyl records plays on in Winnipeg: Vinyl lovers flipped through records Sunday to find everything from rock to soul, jazz and more at Rockin’ Richard’s Record and CD sale.

“While focusing on the rise and demise of Tower Records, the fallen retail giant that once billed its flagship location as ‘The Largest Record-Tape Store in the Known World,’ actor-turned-documentarian Colin Hanks also offers glances at the bigger picture of 21st-century recording industry upheavals in ‘All Things Must Pass.’

Star Tribune music critic Jon Bream parts with his 25,000-piece record collection: “Known around the office as “Bream’s record vault,” the collection has been moved around the Star Tribune’s sprawling headquarters a few times but has been housed for the longest stretch in a dingy, dusty room in the furthest back corner of the building’s basement, where the steel tracks that once guided giant rolls of newspaper toward the printing press still zigzag across the floor.”

Record shop celebrates its 10th anniversary: “Sole proprietor Stuart Smith established Seismic Records in 2005 supplying vinyl and CDs to an expanding customer base in the UK and worldwide.”

“Practical solutions for record storage are few and far between. Vinyl lovers were up in arms when IKEA announced it was discontinuing its Expedit range last year, and though it replaced it with the almost identical Kallax, there’s still a lack of options if you don’t want to battle your local branch on a Saturday afternoon.”

“Pulp’s Jarvis Cocker is presenting 20 Golden Greats,’ an art exhibition at Red Bull Space Paris accompanied by an instrumental soundtrack. The exhibition is composed of vinyl records designed by Cocker, bearing the names of fictional songs credited to labels like RCA Victor and Belter.”

Elton John pays record store surprise visit: “What would you say if Elton John walked into your record store? Sunny Rosen, the mom in the mom-and-pop Wax Trax Records store at 2909 S. Decatur Blvd., put her hand to her mouth in amazement and said, ‘This is so much better than seeing you from the last row in Carnegie Hall in 1971.’”

Death Waltz Records to Open New Vinyl Soundtrack Store in the UK: “…known producing fresh vinyl copies of soundtracks old and new, has announced that they’re opening an actual brick ‘n mortar store in the UK that will be called Transmission Records.”

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Garden State Sound
with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll 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.

“This week, we continue to prepare for the Cape May Singer Songwriter Conference, but also stretch out a little. There is a nice set between two Jersey boys: Tony Bennett and Bill Evans, and a wacky American standard. Much more, of course.

It’s another week of music in the Garden State! Tune in!” —EZT

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The Silent Comedy refinds Faults with
April in-store series

TVD LA recently chatted with The Silent Comedy’s Joshua Zimmerman to discuss the reissue of their debut album Common Faults, which is being pressed to vinyl for the very first time. 2015 also marks the 5th anniversary of the release, so to celebrate they’ve remixed the album and will be taking the vinyl on the road playing shows in select record stores throughout California.

The vinyl is available for pre-order now and the album will also be released digitally on April 14th.

You call Common Faults a transitional album that brought the band into their current sound. Can you elaborate on that? What was it in the writing and recording of this record that made you guys change the sonic direction of the band? Was the change intentional when going into this project or did it happen organically?

The process of transition in the band’s sound happened naturally over the course of making Common Faults. We started to experiment with how to capture a more energetic sound, and focused less on the acoustic songs that had made up our fledging recordings before that. Many of these songs developed from the live show, so these recording sessions were the first time we were analyzing parts, and realizing that the band would benefit for a more organized writing process. It took a while for these lessons to be fully assimilated, but you can see the product of lessons learned from making Common Faults in our new recordings.

Can you tell our readers the production process of this reissue and what you did to change the sound of the album?

One of the regrets we had about Common Faults was that we didn’t have sufficient time or resources to mix the album. We had so little money that my brother Jeremiah and I ended up mixing it ourselves in a very short amount of time. There are years of experience that a professional mixer brings to the process that we simply didn’t have.

For the reissue, we turned the raw tracks over to the extremely talented and accomplished Brian Malouf, who mixed our last couple of projects. Brian took the tracks and gave them a richness that hadn’t been present before. The original version of Common Faults was a little flat, and the remixed songs have a depth and clarity that brings them closer to our original vision.

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Lloyd Cole,
The TVD Interview

From his stunning debut with The Commotions on 1984’s Rattlesnakes, Lloyd Cole has continued to make intelligent pop music for the last three decades. With lyrics referencing literary and pop culture figures as well as chronicling the ebb and flow of personal relationships, Cole touches the mind as well as the heart.

After a period as an acoustic troubadour, Cole has reunited with some early solo career colleagues to make Standards, a return to the jangly guitar milieu of Don’t Get Weird On Me Babe-era sounds. We spoke with Cole prior to his March 29th appearance at Nashville’s City Winery.

Your new album finds you returning to the electric guitar sound of your earlier albums. Was the title a conscious reference to that?

I don’t remember why I called it Standards, really. I just liked the sound of it and I knew that some people would think it was me being snotty or arrogant, calling it Standards, and I always like to rub those people the wrong way (laughter). I guess there’s still a bit of the snotty kid who titled an album Mainstream twenty-eight years ago still there inside me.

I was happy to see you reunited with Matthew Sweet. I’ve been a fan of his since the Buzz of Delight days in the ‘80s Athens, GA scene.

On (Lloyd Cole and The Commotions’) first tour of America, we had a great time in Athens. We wound up having about three days off there, just one of those scheduling things where there were no gigs and we were booked for three days in some nasty hotel. We met some local kids who had a big house and we moved out of the hotel and went to stay with them. I think we drank a lot, probably.

What was it like picking up the electric guitar and getting back together with Matthew and Fred Maher, with whom you had recorded twenty years earlier? Did it feel familiar, strange…

It was, strangely, exactly the same. It wasn’t even familiar, it was the SAME. After a couple of hours on the first day, we looked at each other and said, “Well, this works (laughter).” The combination of the three of us just works and it’s really hard to explain. Fred takes a week to remember the title of a song and Matthew knows how the song goes before I finish telling him. They learn in very different ways but they play together really well. They’ve played on Matthew’s records and on my records, they just play bass and drums together really well in a way that really suits with how I play rhythm guitar and write songs. When we were recording, I played the guitar and sang the songs live. Matthew and I were in the control room, Fred was in the drum room and it just felt weirdly identical.

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Graded on a Curve:
Alice Cooper,
Love It to Death

Alice Cooper, 1971; it’s almost enough to break your heart. Alice put out two LPs that year, Love It to Death and Killer, and both include a handful of incredibly great hard rockers combined with their fair share of duds, including a boring nine-minute workout on Love It to Death (“Black Juju”) and the equally coma-inducing eight-plus minute “Halo of Flies” on Killer. I know bands were often contractually obligated to produce two LPs per annum back then, and that may or may not have had something to do with the limited number of fabulous tracks on both LPs. But imagine, just for a moment, had Alice Cooper put out just one album in 1971, an album containing the best songs from both LPs. The finished product would have been brilliant, and one of the best hard rock LPs of all time.

Alas, you can’t turn back the clock—if you could, I’d move it back to the glory days, when I could smoke tons of pot and not get paranoid—and we’re stuck forever with two woulda-coulda been tremendous albums marred by too many weak tracks to be called great.

As for the band, they got their start in Los Angeles on Frank Zappa’s Straight label, but following the disappointing sales of their sophomore LP (1970’s Easy Action) they up and moved to Pontiac, Michigan, where they fit in perfectly with bands like the Stooges and the MC5. Cooper himself blamed the band’s failure to make a mark in LA to drugs; “L.A. just didn’t get it,” he stated. “They were all on the wrong drug for us. They were on acid and we were basically drinking beer. We fit much more in Detroit than we did anywhere else.”

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new tracks received last week—provided here to inform your next trip to your local indie record store. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Love Axe – Only Gonna Tear You Apart
The Capture Effect – Lies And False Signals
Chastity Belt – Joke
Tree Machines – Fucking Off Today
Josh Gilligan – Old and Tired Ground
Thad Kopec – Every Drop
Absofacto – Dissolve (Robert Lux Remix)
Mikaela Kahn – Chemical Attraction
stickybackplastics. – Psycho Dreamer (Single Version)
DOSVEC – Safe & Intoxicated (Capital Cities vs Martin Solveig & GTA)

Morning Harvey – Smith Street Swap Meet

The Helmholtz Resonators – Vermillion Hue
Fritz Montana – I’m Not The Same
C A R A L I S – Clicks In SOLLUS (Remix)
Round Eye – City Livin’
Royal Tongues – Don’t Wanna Fight
Daniele Di Martino – Time (Original Mix)
The Fantastic Plastics – NoNoGoGo
The Othermen – (Do The) Stand Still
Muzzy Bearr – Seduction Cup
OT Genasis – CoCo (BoBega Bootleg)

15 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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In rotation: 3/30/15

Exactly Why Should You Buy Your Vinyl In A Record Store? “…But we’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, vinyl is about so much more than just the music. It’s about the experience. And hauling your arse to a record store is a really important slice of that experience.”

586 Records secures enterprise funding as Newcastle’s latest record shop: DJ and promoter Antony Daly hopes his vinyl dedicated shop will attract record lovers from across the North East

Tim Dalton Joins Joe Camilleri And Amber Lawrence As Record Store Ambassador: Music educator Tim Dalton has joined ARIA Hall of Famer Joe Camilleri and Golden Guitar winner Amber Lawrence as an Ambassador for Record Store Day Australia.

“Record Store Day is on its way and all the vinyl happy collectors are jumping for joy with all of the planned limited releases. For someone who had no idea what we’re talking about, this article is made for you. Here are 10 tips for budding vinyl collectors in any stage of their collection.”

“The art world can’t keep its hands off vinyl. From Fluxus artists like Milan Knízák and Nam June Paik, to experimental turntablists and sound pioneers like Christian Marclay, records have proved infinitely fascinating both as aesthetic objects to be celebrated and formats to be manipulated, pulled apart and reconstructed. Opening at BALTIC39 in Newcastle…”

NUVO at 25, Browsing Indy’s record stores: “Throughout the rise and fall of the “digital age” Indianapolis has been fortunate to host not just one, but a handful of world-class, independent, brick and mortar music shops.

Vinyl Records: Our last, best hope? “The resurging interest in vinyl records offers a ray of hope for humanity.”

Getting in the Groove, Physical Records in a Digital World: “When my friends come to my house, we always play records,” Antee said. “I love the crackling [sound], and I feel there’s a big difference in the connection that you feel with the music because you have the album cover and all of the information about the record right in front of you.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I came back from a rainy week in Austin to a full house. My mom is in town and staying with us this week. Nice to see ma with my son. I’m sure she has been decompressing from another harsh winter back east.

“I told ya ma, come in February, but you’re always welcome.”

I should have said, always welcome—except when you ask one too many questions. (Ha!) Jewish mothers always ask way too many questions—thousands of questions! It takes patience to understand this family fact. “Blabbing” and asking dumb questions just comes naturally to us Sidels.

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Tom Williams,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl stands out like a sore thumb in today’s culture of music consumption which is what makes it so intriguing that new vinyl sales continue to increase world-wide. You can’t listen to vinyl in your car or on the train, or as you bustle and shove your way through the underground on the way to work. You can’t get vinyl for free if you know the right websites and it doesn’t all fit compactly into your pocket. It’s heavy, it’s cumbersome, it warps, skips, and scratches, and it’s expensive. But yet still more and more people each year fall back in love, or even in love for the first time, with vinyl.”

“What music formats that plead convenience do is undermine what music means to billions of music fans world-wide. Music becomes something that needs to be squeezed in while you do something else. It ceases to become a ritual, a sacred thing that one might make time for. Music is something to be multi tasked to, something enjoyed on low quality headphones or on the speakers of your phone, laptop, or iPad. Something to be listened once to and then thrown away.

What vinyl does is create space and time for the music that lies within its grooves. As soon you bring a record into your house, it demands attention. It’s heavy, so you need special shelves for it, especially if you’ve got thousands. You need a turntable, good cartridge and stylus, an amp, and speakers that will all do the record justice, and you need to set up your room for maximum listening pleasure. You need a great chair to collapse into, low lighting and posters of your favourite records. If you’re so inclined you need a bottle of good whiskey and an ashtray too.

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TVD Recommends: Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats Trivia Night 3/29

Please join City Winery and TVD’s Tim Hibbs in welcoming Nashville’s newest exhibit to the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum with our themed trivia night, this Sunday, March 29th, in the upstairs lounge. We’ll dig into the story of Dylan, Cash, and the Nashville Cats: A New Music City, which opens March 27th.

Test your music history knowledge with questions developed by museum staff and groove to music of the 1960s and ’70s provided by Tim. An all-vinyl playlist featuring the music of the exhibit will include Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, the Byrds, Leonard Cohen, Tracy Nelson, and dozens more hit folk, rock, and country records featuring the session musicians known as the Nashville Cats.

Doors open at 6:00 PM and the competition begins at 7:00 PM. Teams will compete for prizes provided by City Winery and the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, including museum admission and City Winery concert tickets.

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