Monthly Archives: April 2015

Bullyheart’s Holly Long, The TVD First Date

“Records are raw. Emotional rawness. In fact, there’s something wrong to me about listening to a clean, new vinyl record. Maybe because all my memories of LP indulgence include the necessary pops, hisses, a skip or two rendering some pretty amazing lyrical malfunctions, and most definitely reaching for the needle to switch from A to B—a big hairy fur ball at the end. I could have made cat #3 out of those in college.”

“Clearly I was not super involved in taking care of my albums in the early years. What I was more interested in was diving deep into the beautiful angst winding its way out at 33 rpm. By the time I was buying records of my own and seriously listening to music of my choice, my family was equally seriously on the rocks. My parents’ marriage was in lethal trouble. And me, who at 10 was already crying at Coca Cola commercials, I was a wreck even before teenagehood kicked in. So, record spinning for me was almost something like therapy.

I have to out myself that it kinda all began with some serious So Cal pop rock. Nothing fringy or edgy. Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours pulled me in with Christine McVie’s mellow throatiness and Stevie’s weird warbly white-girl croon. I remember hours staring at the black and ivory cover wondering what the fuck adult men were doing dressed in tights dangling things over wanton ladies. And how perfectly it reflected my feeling of also being on the outside of understanding the kick ass lyrical syllables that wound their way through the electric melodies. How did they DO that? What where they SAYING? How did they know it would sound so AWESOME?

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Our Jazz Fest Picks for the Second Friday, 5/1

By the second Friday, the old saying, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” makes all the sense in the world. If you’ve been going to the Jazz Fest every day, and going out at night, now is the time to start pacing. The full schedule is here.

The Honorable South made quite a debut last year at the fest and they have been keeping up quite a schedule. I saw the young indie band at the French Quarter Festival and was impressed by how much they have improved in just under a year. The musicians were tighter and the lead singer, Charm Taylor, was much more poised on stage as she charmed a crowd new to their music.

The Panorama Jazz Band never ceases to amaze with their joie de vivre and musicality. Seeing them outside on the intimate Jazz and Heritage stage should be a real treat. Get ready to boogie because they play music from all over the world and it’s all very danceable.

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UK Video: Urvanovic,
“Open Ground”

Urvanovic are a band who are tricky to pigeon-hole. Their latest free track “Open Ground” is filled with an organically mixed blend of sounds which begins as an anthemic, distortion heavy synth-tastic track, with Tom Irvine and Seonald Stevenson’s vocals coming into play and blending together effortlessly.

There are also a few dynamic surprises hidden inside as well, with a number of mini breakdowns throughout allowing the strings to have their time to shine beautifully.

The video is pretty captivating too as we follow a young girl performing ballet along the streets before she greets the full band and the track comes to a brilliant, dynamic ending.

Urvanovic have managed to create a sound that is both complex and enchanting. Their music is filled with gorgeous layers from all forms of instrumentation which begs you (and us) to catch them in a live arena.

“Open Ground” is available to download now via the band’s Bandcamp page.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

A Badge Of Friendship are back with Episode 3 of their weekly podcast!

This week, they decide to crack open a couple of beers, discuss the implications of parallel universes, and have a chat with Torche’s Andrew Elstner and Idlewild’s Rod Jones.

It’s Ed’s turn at the Label Love controls, and this week’s he’s chosen progressive electro label Warp Records, while Paul welcomes you to the World Of Weird with Butthole Surfers’ “Annoying Song” and Claire serves up a slice of cheese with Echosmith’s “Cool Kids.”

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Graded on a Curve: Michael Angelo,
Michael Angelo

Deep and wide are the realms of self-produced obscurities; just when it seems every attic, garage and barn has received inspection for test pressings, acetates, and undistributed editions, another doozy turns up. In this context, the self-titled ’77 effort of Michael Angelo isn’t amongst the rarest, as 500 were pressed. But originals can go for four figures, indicating it’s not an ordinary rediscovery. Those lacking four figures worth of spending money should, if not rejoice, than at least smile with satisfaction over Michael Angelo’s legit reissue by Anthology Recordings. A bonus 3-song 7-inch is icing on the cake.

The neighborhood of the unearthed obscurity is populated by more than a few fringe characters, especially on the private press side of the tracks. However, Michael Angelo Nigro comes off as a pretty well-adjusted dude, and if his lyrics can get a tad spacey, that’s indicative of ambition and not an inability to curb excessive errors of taste.

Michael Angelo is a retrieval possessing not only restraint but palpable perceptiveness into how to craft an album, though none of that would really matter much if the guy lacked songwriting talent. It helps greatly that Angelo’s Influences, noticeably derived from the second half of the ‘60s, were as attentive to melodicism as self-indulgence.

Another huge factor is Angelo’s instrumental skill; except for the drumming of Frank Gautieri all the sounds came from his hands and throat. Indeed, Angelo was sharp enough to work as a full-time session musician, and in Kansas City, MO no less (how times have changed), his LP crafted in the off-hours at employer Liberty Recording in 1976.

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In rotation: 4/30/15

Run For Cover Records Teams Up With Cooking Vinyl Australia: Australian record label Cooking Vinyl Australia has recently decided to partner up and join forces with Boston indie-rock label Run For Cover.

WFMU Record Fair May 1, 2, 3: “NEW LOCATION! The WFMU Record Fair is moving to Brooklyn!”

Austin Record Show-May 22-24, 2015: “This show is supposed to be the biggest in the States…”

“With vinyl sales soaring it’s no surprise that life is pretty good for turntable manufacturers too. Following Pioneer, who earlier this year unveiled their new plug in and play turntable, high-end audio company Thorens have also unveiled their newest turntable, the TD 203 – a slick, belt-driven deck for home-listening…”

Buying Used Records-A Primer: “Some of this is common sense, basic knowledge to anybody who collects, so please accept this as nothing more than “blithering insights into the obvious” if you are already an experienced buyer of used vinyl…”

Record Revival: vinyl poised for a comeback “Andrew Schaer is experiencing a record revival. Schaer, the owner of Hear Again Music and Movies!, says a move to downtown Gainesville – and a move back to vinyl – saved his business.”

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Our Jazz Fest Picks for Thursday, 4/30

Longtime festers refer to the only Thursday on the Jazz Fest schedule as “Slacker’s Day.” It’s also Kids’ Day so expect to see lots of New Orleans public school children and their smiling faces if you get there early in the day. The full lineup is here.

The Acura stage is strong with jam bands all day culminating in another appearance by Widespread Panic. The opening act, TAUK, is one I had to look up to find out what they are all about. They are a hard charging, instrumental four-piece that will definitely wake the neighborhood with their prog rock fusion sound. Check ‘em out below.

For something decidedly different and fresh, head over to the Jazz Tent for Trumpet Mafia. This new band is led by Ashlin Parker and has seven, count them, seven trumpeters. They have been making waves on the Frenchmen Street scene. Read More »

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Graded on a Curve:
Kill from the Heart

I rarely write about overtly political rock bands, primarily because I find politics morally lowering but also because, as Bob Geldof once said, “Music can’t change the world.” Political rock bands tend to preach to the choir, which is a complete waste of breath. If you really want to change the world—and I personally believe it can’t be changed, not really—quit said rock band and start a revolution. Form your own Weather Underground. Bomb stuff and shit.

But if political rock is useless, I still have a soft spot for Dicks, the Texas/San Francisco hardcore band fronted by the great Gary Floyd. He’s written reams of protest songs, but I can relate to them because they so frequently come down to wanting to off the pigs or the KKK or rich bourgeois bastards. It’s never going to happen, although the police have become more of a threat to public safety than ever, but I find listening to Floyd singing about hating the police rejuvenating. He’s all rage and vitriol, as anybody who’s been paying attention to the homicidal antics of police forces around the nation should be. Throw in a great band, and catchy melodies, and it’s no wonder Dicks are the considered one of history’s great hardcore bands.

I wish Floyd were a bit funnier, but he obviously takes his subject matter seriously, which is generally an aesthetic mistake in my Oscar Wilde-influenced world. But once again I’ll make Floyd and Dicks an exception, in part because Floyd was one of the first openly gay humans in the hardcore community and I can’t imagine that was a pleasant experience. As for his hatred of the police, it was a universally held notion in the early days of punk and hardcore, because the po-po treated your average punk rockers the same way they treated all defenseless minorities, namely like shit. So small wonder Floyd reached the boiling point, and his only means of expressing himself was through bile and more bile.

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TVD Live: The 2015
New Orleans Jazz
and Heritage Festival,
4/25 and 4/26

PHOTOS: “BATON ROUGE” BILL BOELENS | For some, rain is the bane of the Jazz Fest in New Orleans. For others, it’s more of a mixed blessing since it cools you off, opens up opportunities to hear new bands, and keeps away the rookies. But the worst thing about bad weather is the slight chance that the music will be silenced. And that is exactly what happened on Friday afternoon.

Storms were forecast for both Friday and Saturday, so veteran festers were prepared. But when big red splotches began appearing on radar screens around 5 PM Friday, rain gear was readied. I was in the Jazz Tent checking out Snarky Puppy when the organizers pulled the plug. It was just too risky to allow the music to continue since hundreds of lightning strikes were being reported west of New Orleans.

But the day began auspiciously with the Jazz Fest debut of Earphunk. I have been watching this band mature and despite a late, late gig Thursday evening, they brought the goods. Most likely sleepless, one guitarist remarked than it felt like a dream to be on stage at Jazz Fest. Then he thanked the crowd for being part of the moment and said, “We’re gonna remember this day forever.”

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast here now every Wednesday at TVD.

“I’m on air tonight—for the final time—with my usual assortment of new artists and bands. On tonight’s show a Psych/Noise/Pop three-piece based in Oneonta, NY called Klozapin offer up this week’s Record of the Week on a silver platter—it’s COOL.

This week’s #shellshock is fuzzy and lo fi and I LOVE IT—it’s Chorusgirl with “No Moon.”

This week’s show will also feature northern soul dancing and some class old school tunes due to a CD malfunction. Oh the joy of being reactive!” —SZ

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Graded on a Curve:
Jon Gibson,

He may not be well-known, but 20th century music would unwind somewhat differently minus multi-wind instrumentalist Jon Gibson. His membership in the defining ensembles of New York City Minimalism is without peer, but he’s also a composer spanning roughly 50 years. Gibson’s debut under his own name emerged in 1973; Visitations contains two side-long tracks establishing that he was trapped beneath nobody’s stylistic umbrella. It gets its first-time vinyl reissue this week through Superior Viaduct.

Born in 1940, saxophonist, clarinetist and flautist Jon Gibson studied at Sacramento State and received his BA from San Francisco State in 1964. By the end of the decade he’d secured placement in the history of New Music, but for an artist of such achievement his name is raised far too seldom. He started out in the improvisation-based New Music Ensemble, his most famous cohort in the group being its founder, the prolific composer Larry Austin.

Folks bonkers for experimentalism might recognize the Ensemble’s Richard Swift, Stanley Lunetta, and Arthur Woodbury; along with Austin, they were subsequently involved in the magazine Source: Music of the Avant-Garde. The New Music Ensemble cut what appears to be a self-released record in 1964, but it doesn’t seem to have been given a very large pressing and today looks to be utterly scarce. I’d love to hear it, almost as much as I would’ve treasured witnessing the November 4, 1964 premier of Terry Riley’s In C at the San Francisco Tape Music Center.

Gibson was a participant in that performance as he helped to debut Steve Reich’s Drumming and a bit later Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach, all this activity kinda making him minimalism’s Freddie Hubbard (look up the jazz trumpeter’s credits to understand); he also worked with La Monte Young, Frederic Rzewski, Alvin Curran, Robert Ashley, Christian Wolff, Harold Budd, and others.

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In rotation: 4/29/15

Local bands look to branch out with help of record store: “The Record Lounge sets itself apart from other venues in the area for multiple reasons — primarily because it allows small, unheard-of bands to gain recognition in the area when otherwise they may have not been given a chance…”

Stretford Mall record store helps get vinyl revival into the groove: “A new record stall at Stretford Mall, named after a classic song by The Smiths, is helping power the vinyl revival which currently has the country in a spin…”

Launch success for vinyl store: “The new vinyl store – Oldham’s first in more than two decades – opened on the first anniversary of Harwood’s Scoots, Suits and Boots mod-fashion store launch in Yorkshire Street, and coincided with national Record Store Day…”

Life In Berlin: Record Store Day: “For us, it is just some marketing bulls****. We usually say, like any serious record shop would say, everyday is record store day. Vinyl was pronounced dead when we first opened the shop more than twenty-five years ago and we don’t accept the premise that vinyl needs to be saved because, as far as we are concerned, vinyl has been going strong and is very much alive and healthy.”

Long live The Savannah Record Fair! “Flipping through the Record Fair’s fare, I hit a sleeve that was strangely familiar: The Beatles, with Paul in an open steamer trunk and the rest of the guys surrounding him, looking blasé. On closer inspection, there was a ghost underneath; the cover was like a giant sticker, curling slightly on a corner as if it had been picked at by a fingernail…”

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TVD Live: Trampled
by Turtles at the 9:30 Club, 4/22

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | When the boys from Duluth took the stage, they did so in reverent harmony. Each entered the stage and picked up their instrument without addressing the crowd as Dave Simonett began “Wild Animals.” Everyone settled in and got comfortable, ready for show.

In the last few years as Bluegrass has resurged in popularity, it’s also created a very specific fan-base. You can rest assured that whoever lists Bluegrass among their favorite music won’t be an asshole. Trampled by Turtles, or Trampled, or TbT, whichever you prefer—their fans are no different. That “Minnesota Nice” that we’ve heard about on the East Coast is something their fans seem to have taken to heart.

Despite the subject matter, Bluegrass has an easy way about it, and Trampled reminded us of that. “Valley” is an especially acute reminder throughout the chorus: “There’s peace in the valley/ Just give it some time.” It’s no wonder that as our lives get busier, as we surround ourselves with distractions, as the world often seems to be crumbling—solace can be found in acknowledging this fact through music, which can just as easily dismissed. Something else will happen tomorrow, and we’ll get through that too.

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TVD Live Shots:
Hurray for the Riff
Raff and Son Little at
the 9:30 Club, 4/21

Last Tuesday, the New Orleans-based modern folk heroes, Hurray for the Riff Raff performed at DC’s 9:30 Club and indulged their audience with a genuine taste of real Americana.

To commence Tuesday’s performance, vocalist Alynda Lee Segarra took the stage alone and brought to life “The New SF Blues” minus the accompaniment of her band, delivering the lyrics with a commanding voice and an unassuming, graceful swagger. Segarra then turned to welcome her band to the stage for the next song with a “…here comes the rest of the Riff Raff” and smiled as the audience welcomed her and her full combo to DC.

Hurray for the Riff Raff immediately dove into the night’s second song “Blue Ridge Mountain” from their latest full length release, Small Town Heroes. The band proceeded to fill the room with beautifully orchestrated, yet simplistic tones well into the night. Despite their modest stage set up and use of only essential instruments—guitar, piano, drums, fiddle, and bass—the Riff Raff unquestionably fills the room with a very full sound. I suppose that when you use only the key ingredients to make a soup, that’s exactly what you taste the most. Point being—simple is a really good thing.

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The Single Girl: Broken Boy, “Just To Leave You”

Broken Boy have released their latest single, “Just To Leave You” and it’s an absolute banger.

The track kicks in straight away with Stewart Black’s punchy lead guitar, before being joined by brother Cam Black’s distinctive vocal tone to really carry the track to it’s indie-rock potential. The verse breaks down into a minimalist yet catchy verse you will want to hear on repeat before falling back into that heavy, indie vibe the likes of The Strokes and The Vaccines are famous for.

Lyrically, the boys tackle issues of growing up and taking control of your own destiny while escaping the mundane aspects of everyday life—something we can all relate to, I’m sure.

All in all, this track seems like the perfect comeback for the trio and should definitely be on your radar for ones to watch.

“Just To Leave You” is released on 27th April 2015 via Canvas Records.

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