Monthly Archives: May 2015

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

“First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is… First there is a Mountain…”

Very groovy song with a very groovy concept. I have never heard anyone refer to Laurel Canyon as a mountain, but certainly it is a “hill,” (famously coined “The Hills”). The “spark” for this week’s Idelic Hour came from a blog post I saw. Remembering Mountains, a new album of Karen Dalton covers has just come out.

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Sonny Knight and The Lakers, The TVD First Date & Video Premiere

“Once we got it in our heads that we were going to make a live album, there was no going back.”

“We were, and still are, very proud of the show that we worked together to craft in 2014. We were pumped to document it, but had some very strict guidelines for how the record would be made and distributed. First off, it had to be cut to tape without the use of protools or any other digital workstations, etc. Secondly, we did not want to alter the show in any dramatic way to accommodate the recording process (this was very important to Sonny and the guys). Lastly, it had to be available on wax. Each of these presented a unique set of issues.

The first, was pretty simple to deal with on its own. Sure, we had to haul in a ton of gear to cut it to tape, but that was doable. Also, the club was very accommodating. But when paired with the second guideline, that we wouldn’t dramatically alter the show, it became a bit of an issue. You see, the show never really stops. All of the songs run together. This means there is no time to change out reels of tape. When the idea of building short breaks into the show for reel changes was presented, I think I got very upset and actually said I’d rather just not make the record. John Miller (Secret Stash’s Chief Engineer) came up with a solution. He brought in two tape machines. Before one reel would run out, he’d fire up the other machine, providing continuous recording.

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UK Video: The Curious Incident, “Please Don’t Say”

If you’re looking for something to put you in the mood for summer (don’t worry—the weather will get there), then The Curious Incident’s latest video for “Please Don’t Say” is a pretty good start.

Frontman Cavey’s enthusiasm is contagious, and the ska inflected guitar, bass and drums is enough to get your feet skanking under the desk, as you stare out the window dreaming of a well-earned holiday… where were we?

The track is taken from their EP “Penny Lonesome” which was released earlier in the year. Stalk The Curious Incident on Twitter.

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The Single Girl: Sofia, “Ice Cold Love”

“Ice Cold Love,” the latest single from Sofia, covers the universal theme of break ups. We’ve all been there. Some of us handle it with more dignity than others. Some of us resort to wine. All the wine.

Sofia has handled hers—hypothetical or not—with aplomb, penning a surprisingly lifting track that puts her relationship in perspective, viewed through the lens of hindsight. She has acknowledged that she’s better off without her significant other, and moved on to better things.

An honest and heartfelt song about an experience all of us can relate to, musically the track is more Paul Simon than Taylor Swift, but with a sense of empowerment conveyed by Sofia’s distinctive voice backed by a pleasant, uncomplicated guitar. It’s probably the most level headed break up song we’ve had the pleasure of hearing, and it’s further improved by the video that accompanies it, showing the couple in question going about their lives at the point of separation. We’re looking forward to seeing what else Sofia has up her sleeve for 2015.

You can also check out and download Sofia’s “Untamable – Kandylion Remix” on Soundcloud. “Ice Cold Love” is released via Let’s Play Records. Keep up to date with Sofia via Facebook.

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Graded on a Curve: Humble Pie, Eat It

When it comes to most 1970s double LPs, you can count me out. Especially the live ones. Bands almost inevitably saw them as an opportunity to stretch out, and engage in long, boring, and masturbatory free form shenanigans. Whole sides given over to one song! And in some cases, such as The Allman Brothers’ Eat a Peach and Canned Heat’s Living the Blues, TWO sides dedicated to one song! But look on the bright side. Should you ever decide you want out of this world, all you’ll have to do is put on Canned Heat’s 41-minute version of “Refried Boogie,” and presto! Suicide by ennui.

England’s Humble Pie was as guilty as the rest. On the band’s 1971 double live LP Performance: Rockin’ the Fillmore, Steve Marriott and company dedicated whole album sides to both Dr. John’s “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” and Muddy Waters’ “Rollin’ Stone.” Rockin’ the Fillmore is not so much an album as a tar pit, perfect for sinking slowly into on Seconal, Nembutals, and all the other great downers that made the seventies the Decade of Drool. I did my fair share and they were fun, especially when it came to basic motor skills, so much fun indeed that I once attempted to force a forkful of spaghetti into my forehead.

But Humble Pie redeemed itself with the 1973 double LP Eat It, because (1) I spent a lot of time listening to it as a kid, (2) there was simply no beating front man Steve Marriott—the legendary former guitarist and vocalist for The Small Faces—when he was at the top of his game, and most importantly (3) only one of its four sides is live. Amazing! Not a 40-minute track to be found! And what’s more its mix of hard rock originals, quieter numbers, jacked-up soul classics, and good old hippie blooz inexplicably works, thanks to the wonderfully grainy voice of Marriott—one of rock’s most unheralded lead singers—three of the greatest backup singers ever, and a band proficient enough to master songs from any genre under the sun.

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In rotation: 5/29/15

The Turtles Win Class Action Certification In SiriusXM Copyright Lawsuit, Opening Door For Others: “The 1960s band, the Turtles, won another victory in their battle to retrieve royalties for songs they recorded prior to February, 1972. This one could have broad financial implications for other artists, as well as digital and streaming firms…”

Public library of 10,000 vinyl records opens in South Korea: “A huge public vinyl library has just opened in the South Korean capital of Seoul, containing 10,000 records, 3,000 books, every issue of Rolling Stone magazine published since 1967 and a performance space…”

Vinyl Mania Record Convention Night: “Fans of vinyl, there is an event on the horizon that you just can’t miss…”

Attention Vinyl Freaks: The $5 Record Show is Coming

“Two Doors albums, Other Voices and Full Circle have been available only on digital format to date, but are soon to be released on both vinyl and CD by Rhino records. The records were made without singer Jim Morrison who died in 1971…”

Ireland’s biggest home-owned chain of record stores is still growing: “Golden discs has bucked the global trend in declining physical music sales with a significant increase in its turnover last year…”

Buffalo Records Shop brings art form back to Kearney: ““You may dig for hours and not find anything, then you find that one record and that makes your whole day…”

The Vinyl Revival: “…who is buying vinyl in 2015? The two main groups which appear to be behind the surge in vinyl sales are older generations, driven by nostalgia, and a new generation, filling an emptiness created by digital music.

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Five from Five: 5/28/15

Yo, hello. I’m starting this new Five From Five feature so I can share with you all of the New York-centric things that I’m digging these days, from upcoming shows to killer albums and much much more.

OK, not really “much much more,” because how much more do you need in life between live shows and pre-recorded jams? Not much, I would argue. And the great thing about it is we can tune out all that other bullshit people are talking about and listening to…and just concentrate on MY TASTE! (Disclaimer: other people listen to and talk about wonderful things.)

Anyway, I’ll knock it off and share with you the first Five from Five.

1. Dig this killer mind-fuck jammer, “Dutch Master,” from Brooklyn’s own Friend Roulette. Their new album I See You. Your Eyes Are Red comes out on June 2. Grab of it!

2. Annique Monet is brilliant. She’s from Florida, lives in Brooklyn, and made every sound on this album. Phantom Letters just came out last week on cassette/digi on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. Sit back and enjoy the “Relapse” song/vid and stream the rest of the album here.

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TVD Video Premiere: Ruby My Dear, “Dirt”

New York quintet Ruby My Dear draw us into their dreamy world with exotic new animation.

We have the pleasure of premiering the video for their newest single “Dirt”—a mellow blend of hushed chamber-pop that recalls the early work of Little Dragon and Dirty Projectors. Singer Gabbi Coenen glosses over the rich production work while the song oscilates from soft, narrative versus to bombastic jazz hooks.

The visuals here remain subtle but are nuanced with emotion and enhanced by intricate layers of nature and overcast weather. A perfect reflection of the atmospheric, avant-pop Ruby My Dear has come to be known by.

Their intriguing music and thoughtful compositions are certainly in bloom on their newest “Balloon” EP; displaying a sonic adventurism that makes one eagerly anticipate a full length in the coming year.

Ruby My Dear Official | Facebook | Twitter

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UK Artist of the Week: Sorren Maclean

Sorren Maclean has had quite a year, kicking off 2015 by joining Idlewild on their long-awaited comeback tour. However, far from being overshadowed by them, Sorren’s sound is a force unto itself, his evocative vocals and tender, minimalist guitar striking a delicate balance between Scottish folk and Americana.

The singer/songwriter has quite a few credits under his belt, including a couple of BBC soundtracks, and it would appear that if you’re a musician on the Isle of Mull, it’s very likely you’ll have worked with Maclean as he’s an avid producer, composer, and session artist having contributed to over 20 albums.

We reviewed Sorren’s EP “Way Back Home” in March, and we’re happy to hear that his follow-up album, Winter Stay Autumn will be coming out on June 6th via Middle Of Nowhere Recordings, giving us an even bigger slice of his signature laid back folk to enjoy.

Keep up to date with Sorren Maclean on Facebook.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

It’s that time of week again—A Badge Of Friendship are ready with episode 7 of their podcast.

This week, deprived of sleep and very much feeling the effects of a non-stop week, the gang have gone a little stir crazy. That doesn’t stop them talking up a storm with Matt from Funeral For A Friend and Hawk Eyes’ Paul as they discuss the UK’s current obsession with festivals, and the trials and tribulations of life in a touring band.

Claire gets down and dirty with Ipecac Records for “Label Love,” while Paul busts out the pop with Grimes’ Realiti in this week’s “Pass The Cheese.” In true BeaverMan style, Ed takes listeners on a trip to Twin Peaks as he gives Angelo Badalamenti’s “A Real Indication” a spin for “World of Weird.” They also showcase a band from their very own roster, the raw and punchy Totem Terrors and their awesome track “Lies.”

Tracks played on the show can be heard in full here:

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Graded on a Curve: Marvin Gaye, Volume One 1961–1965

Marvin Gaye is rightly evaluated as a crucial chapter in the story of Motown, but the relationship’s peaks weren’t immediate. Marvin had his goals while Barry Gordy and company had theirs, and across his first batch of releases the results only fitfully align with the vocalist’s popular image. The seven 180gm LPs contained in USM’s Marvin Gaye Volume One: 1961-1965 are still very much of interest however, offering a portrait of the soon to be great artist as a confident young man profoundly concerned with classicist pop objectives.

A recurring theme in the history of 20th century Pop finds record labels big small and in between striving purely in the name of profits to mold and modify a developing talent into a contemporary setting. In the process these actions frequently limited, damaged, or even downright quashed creative promise. In such instances the label’s miscalculations were reliably due to the reactive nature of the whole endeavor, the attempts seeking to capitalize on trends in place of shaping organic wrinkles in musical progress.

The seven albums included here complicate the above scenario considerably, detailing Motown as determined to travel a fertile trail as the young and undeniably skilled Gaye sought not to set trends but instead to examine a Pop/Jazz zone a la Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra just as this tradition was on the wane.

Rather trying to strong-arm him into a mode he didn’t wish to inhabit, Motown displayed a tremendous amount of patience with the singer’s ambitions, though this might not be as commendable as it sounds; Gaye was fully capable of pulling-off (if not truly excelling at) the crooner role, making commercial success in this capacity a possibility. Had that transpired, Motown surely would’ve primed the pump until it gushed. On the other hand, none of the non-R&B focused LPs assembled in 1961-1965 charted, and Motown was unambiguously in the business of hits.

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In rotation: 5/28/15

Jacaranda to open coffee shop and vinyl record store above iconic bar: Famous Beatles venue to go back to its beginnings with vinyl shop and coffee bar

“Those of you who were busy this past Record Store Day and are still reeling from missing out on all of the excitement, we have some news that will calm your nerves. You can now look forward to participating in the RSD revelry every week…”

A chat with Jett Plastic’s Jarrett Koral: “Jett Plastic is a distinctive little vinyl-only label that’s released archival records by Bootsey X and Necros as well as contemporary recordings by the Ill Itches and the Pizza Underground…”

Drool over this online archive of coloured vinyl and picture discs: “Developed by Birtalan Laszlo, the site currently has 51 pages to browse through, and yes, it even has that piss-soaked vinyl…”

“Following last year’s represses of Cocteau Twins’ Blue Bell Knoll and Heaven or Las Vegas, this July will see their combined EPs of Tiny Dynamine / Echoes In A Shallow Bay and long out of print, early-80s compilation, The Pink Opaque, officially released on 17th July…”

Qrates courts Japan’s love of vinyl records: “Qrates provides artists with controlled distribution of their vinyl, and lowers production risks by collecting pre-orders from fans prior to production and thus eliminating the problem of dead stock…”

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TVD Video Premiere: Records Collecting Dust Exclusive Sneak Peek

As TVD’s Jon Pacella wrote last January, “If there’s one thing that is always on the mind of record collectors—besides what records they already have or may need—it’s what other record collectors have. Facebook, Meetup, and various other online outlets offer a haven for vinyl enthusiasts to share their treasures with like-minded individuals.”

“Filmmaker Jason Blackmore took this a step further, posing the question, “What do the people making the music have on their shelves?” In his new documentary film, Records Collecting Dust, he engages a wide array of musicians to find out.

Relying on off-camera questions, Records Collecting Dust shifts from one common thread to the next, splitting the movie into segments. Punk luminaries like Jello Biafra, Keith Morris, Mike Watt, and Chuck Dukowski sound off, joined by artists like Matt Pike (High on Fire, Sleep), Nick Oliveri (Queens of the Stone Age, Kyuss, Mondo Generator), Matt Caughthran (The Bronx), and more…”

Records Collecting Dust finds its way to DVD and Video On Demand on July 8, 2015 and to whet your appetite for its return—or for those of you who might have missed one of our favorite docs of the year to date the first time around—we’ve got an exclusive clip from the film to reel you in.

Preorder Records Collecting Dust on DVD here and for digital viewing here—and there’s an online auction your can participate in to bid for a signed Records Collecting Dust movie poster autographed by Jello Biafra, Keith Morris, Justin Pearson, Danny Benair, Lisa Fancher, Clifford Dinsmore, and the doc’s director Jason Blackmore. Proceeds of the auction are to benefit San Diego Habitat for Humanity.

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Marc Stone celebrates release of Poison & Medicine at D.B.A., 5/28

Guitarist, songwriter, and bandleader Marc Stone is throwing a major bash this Thursday night at D.B.A. beginning at 10 PM. Expect to see his all-star band plus special guests Mike Dillon, the Honeypots, Benny Turner, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, and John Mooney.

The new album is his Louisiana Red Hot Records debut. The surging label now has a true powerhouse roster that also includes the New Orleans Suspects, the Honey Island Swamp Band, Ivan Neville, and Dumpstaphunk.

Stone is known for his dedicated approach to assembling one-of-a-kind, all-star shows, and he’s going all out to celebrate his new album.

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Graded on a Curve:
Gary Clark Jr., “Gary Clark Jr. Presents Hotwire Unlimited Raw Cuts Vol. 1”

Gary Clark Jr. isn’t a musician—he’s a force of nature. His uncanny mix of rock, the blues, soul, country, and even hip hop will blow the top of your head off, and that’s when he’s hardly trying. The Austin, Texas guitarist has won comparisons to the best of them, and he deserves them—his live version of “Catfish Blues” will have you thinking Hendrix, but he’s blunter and less flashy. He’s more muscle than finesse, although he’s capable of the latter when it’s required. And if distortion is your thing, as it is mine, well, you’re not going to find better.

How great is Clark? Well, Austin’s mayor declared May 3, 2001 Gary Clark Jr. Day. Clark, a prodigy, was all of 17 at the time. He’s won numerous awards, played alongside dozens of superstars including the Rolling Stones, and gigged at the White House, which should have burned that evil structure down but inexplicably didn’t. You can also hear his music on various television programs. Even the late Idi Amin digs him, and went on the record as saying, “He’s so good, I wouldn’t even eat him.”

I love his more out there guitar work, which is why I’m such a fan of the awkwardly titled 12” limited vinyl EP, “Gary Clark Jr. Presents Hotwire Unlimited Raw Cuts Vol. 1.” Just three songs, but all of them extended jams guaranteed to sanctify the electric guitar freak in you. Recorded live, they demonstrate Clark at him unbridled best, letting his freak flag fly and cutting loose just for the funk of it. The “A” side, which was recorded live at Charlottesville, Virginia, smushes Jimi Hendrix’s “Third Stone from the Sun” with Little Johnny Taylor’s 1964 tune “If You Love Me Like You Say.” The “B” side features an extended version of Clark’s own “Bright Lights,” which has been featured in a number of film and TV programs, recorded live in London. His fellow musicians included Eric Zapata on guitar, Johnny Bradley on bass, and Johnny Radelat on drums.

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