Monthly Archives: July 2015

The Best of The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON 4/17/15 | Greetings from Indio, California!

Driving through the desert, blasting rock ‘n’ roll is righteous. Kem Nunn’s novel, Tapping The Source comes to mind:

“…As he listened the train sounds grew faint and disappeared and someone shut off the music so there was just the silence, that special kind of silence that comes to the desert, and he knew that if he waited there would come a time, stars fading, slim band of light creeping on the horizon, when the silence would grow until it was unbearable, until it was as if the land itself were about to break it, to give up some secret of its own…”

Day dreaming of bad dudes with surfboards strapped to the roof of a dusty car pulling into desert gas station… I know I’m trippin’, or should I say California dreaming—and why not?

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TVD Live: Forecastle Festival 2015, 7/17–7/19

PHOTOS: ELENA HIBBS | This year’s edition of Forecastle Festival proved yet again that it is one of the country’s most enjoyable, user-friendly musical gatherings. Part of that is due to host city Louisville, Kentucky, an art-friendly upper South enclave huddled along the Ohio River. Its Waterfront Park, the festival’s location, is an inviting 85-acre greenspace that lends itself perfectly to Forecastle’s four stage set-up.

The majority of the festival’s success can be attributed to the excellent staff who, in partnership with AC Entertainment (the folks who bring you Bonnaroo), are focused on producing a unique cultural experience. This land-locked Love Boat keeps good vibes and good music flowing throughout its annual three-day cruise.

Heavy rains and flooding in the area over the last few weeks had caused the Ohio River to reach near-record heights, requiring some of the stages to be moved a little further inland from the river bank. The heat also played a bigger than usual role this year, with temps getting into the upper 90s. Forecastle handled the climate conditions in stride, providing free water refilling stations and multiple points offering free sunscreen.

If you needed a break from solar assault, there were plenty of shaded areas in which to cool down, including the circus tent-sized Bourbon Lodge. Speaking of which, I accidentally discovered that Four Roses Single Barrel and Gatorade Lemon-Lime makes a surprisingly refreshing cocktail. But I digress.

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James Mackenzie,
The TVD First Date

“One of my first memories, or experiences of vinyl was around 20 years ago—I was only 8 years old.”

“My dad was (and still is a little bit) an “old skool” DJ. He’d take in his homemade double deck from the shed along with a dozen boxes of vinyl. It was mostly 7″ singles. He once told me that he bought everything in the Top 40 every week for years. I found this quite fascinating. I can’t be distinct about which songs I heard first but I remember hearing songs like “Bring Your Daughter To The Slaughter” and ZZ Top’s version of “Viva Las Vegas.”

Then about 5 years ago I asked my old man, “Hey, where are all those records you used to have?” He was storing them in an old leaking shed out the back! I think most people will be aware that records are not happy in cold damp spaces. So, I made a day of it and sieved through all the vinyl—some good, some bad, and some fucking awful. I took all the stuff I was into at the time, every Gun, Metallica, and a Maiden 7″ I could find.

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Satchmo SummerFest 2015 Weekend Picks

Satchmo SummerFest is all about Louis Armstrong—his instruments, his incomparable trumpet playing, and his inimitable vocal stylings. But ace musicians always surrounded him. This year more than ever the annual event has reached out to other instrumentation with performances by guitar players and pianists among the many trumpeters. The full schedule for Saturday is here and Sunday is here.

While Ellis Marsalis, Deacon John and many of the trumpeters on the schedule are certainly well-known musicians, we certainly shouldn’t overlook the other working players especially those on other instruments. Top on my list plays early on Saturday.

Seva Venet is a banjo player, guitarist, and music historian. He has put together a great aggregation which includes nary a horn player. His Storyville String Band reaches back into the first years of the 20th century when jazz was just being born.

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The Single Girl: Reverieme, “Or Else
The Light” EP

There’s a sadness in Reverieme’s voice that far surpasses her youth. That’s not to cast her recent EP, “Or Else The Light” with a completely melancholy note—there’s some genuine lyrical humour in tracks such as “Nocturnal Babe” and “Golem,” and Louise Connell’s (Reverieme’s real name) use of the ukulele and banjo adds a playfulness to her sound. She also claims to be able to play the guitar with her nose, so you know that there’s some humour behind the voice.

Louise has said very little about the meaning behind her songs which, in a way, we’re grateful for, and so should you be. Allowing listeners to print their own memory on a creation is a selfless act, and there is some gorgeous lyrical imagery flowing through these tracks—unburdened by pre-conceptions makes them all the more effective.

Get comfortable, lie back, and close your eyes. This is an EP that needs to be enjoyed minus background noise. This is not filler or something you can just pop on. It demands your full attention as to pick up every subtle nuance of the guitar, every lilt in her voice, and drink in the lyrics.

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Graded on a Curve: Steppenwolf, The Best
of Steppenwolf

At the turn of the seventies, Steppenwolf were the shit. They produced a handful of classic songs—biker anthems and dope cautionary tales and tunes that captured the confused mood of the times—and then broke up, and the loss was ours. But what I like the most about them is the way they lost members. Original bassist Rushton Moreve was fired in 1968 after he refused to set foot in California, convinced by his hippie girlfriend who received portents that it was going to slide into the sea. Meanwhile, guitarist Michael Monarch was sacked after showing up for a gig wearing only bunny ears and a jock strap and playing his guitar loudly and out of tune. He got fired, in other words, for being the un-Butthole Surfer.

Kay, who was born in Prussia and whose real name was Joachim Fritz Krauledat, formed Steppenwolf in Toronto in 1967. Their rise to the top was not one long and slow slog through the merciless rock swamp—by 1968 they were famous, thanks to the success of “Born to Be Wild.” The band’s profile was increased by the inclusion of “Born to Be Wild” and their cover of Hoyt Axton’s “The Pusher” on the Easy Rider soundtrack. After that, hit followed hit until the usual creative difficulties led the band to break up on Valentine’s Day, 1972.

Steppenwolf have kinda been forgotten, with the exception of “Born to Be Wild” and “Magic Carpet Ride.” And both songs, while great, have an antiquated feel to them. That said, songs like “The Pusher”—one of the most furious anti-hard-drugs songs ever written—sound like they could have been recorded yesterday. Kay never sounds so strident as he does on “The Pusher,” threatening, “I’d cut him if he stands/And shoot him if he’d run/Yes I’d kill him with my razor/And my Bible and my gun.” The guitarist plays cool riffs throughout, giving the song an ominous vibe, all coiled menace like a poisonous snake about to strike.

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In rotation: 7/31/15

Teaming up with Universal Music, the Zappa family have revealed major plans for new releases. A new partnership between the Zappa Family Trust and Universal Music Enterprises will bring vinyl reissues of classic albums, exclusives from the vaults and film and theatrical productions. The first confirmed album release is a remastered 180g vinyl edition ofOne Size Fits All, the ’74 album from Zappa’s band The Mothers of Invention, which drops on August 14th.

Vinyl Day brings back memories of music listening rituals: “As we walked through the door, I was greeted by a man who excitedly asked me “Do you like vinyl records?!” This was like a fastball down the middle, but I kept a straight face and played it calmly, answering “Yes, indeed I do…”

Pretty things set for Tower Records in-store: “Their new release The Sweet Pretty Things (Are In Bed Now, Of Course…) might mark 52 years on the go, but R&B heroes The Pretty Things are slowing down for nobody. In fact, the pioneering band are going positively old-school and undertaking a tour of indie record stores in a few months time – including a visit to Tower Records on September 16.”

Vid: The resurgence of vinyl records, Is vinyl back? “One man explains why he loves record players.”

‘Disgusting’ swaplifter swipes valuable record from Manchester city centre charity shop: But staff at the store are now appealing for the offender to return the record – before he’s tracked down by police

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TVD Live Shots: Interpol at Echostage, 7/28

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Nestled on a seedy DC street is one of the area’s biggest clubs, Echostage. Generally a spot known for EDM, there has recently been an uptick in rock shows circulating through. On Tuesday night, Interpol lit up the mega club ripping through their set as one of the best rock bands to come to DC this summer. The band members do not put on a big spectacle in the performance. Clad in all black, the focus is drawn to the music as opposed to the musicians, yet they managed to put on an energetic and electric show.

Known for monotone vocals and heavy, staccato basslines, Interpol has been a staple in the American alt-rock scene for 15 years. Founded in New York in 1997, they are touring the US and Europe this summer to promote their fifth album, El Pintor. This is the band’s first tour without founding member, bassist Carlos Dengler, and although his decision to split from the band left a hole in the album, the performance showed no sign of the loss.

Ever-serious frontman Paul Banks whirred through the hour and a half set to an increasingly excited crowd that went from head bobbing to all out jumping around. Songs from their 2004 album Antics, including “Evil” and “Slow Hands,” were undeniably the cause of most excitement, but the crowd remained relatively enthusiastic for the lesser known songs too.

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Satchmo SummerFest 2015 Friday Picks

This year, the organizers of the annual festival celebrating the life and music of Louis Armstrong are trying something new. For the first time, there will be a $5 cover charge for admission to the festival at the Old U.S. Mint. It will be interesting to see if there are more people set up outside the gates, less people inside, or if the new policy is a non-starter. Here are our picks for Friday, July 31, 2015. The full schedule is here.

Deacon John will be making his first appearance at the festival. As discussed in a previous post, the septuagenarian musician is performing a lot more around town lately including a great show celebrating his birthday at Tipitina’s and a performance at the French Quarter Festival in April.

This year, his set partially overlaps with that of trumpeter James Andrews. Since his cousin, Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill passed away earlier this year from a shocking infection, Andrews has also been playing a lot more in clubs around town.

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The Single Girl:
We’re No Heroes,

We’re No Heroes’ latest single, “Voodoo” is a stomping slice of indie-pop, with cheeky beats, sultry bass, and guitar that dances all over your speakers.

We won’t lie—with a name like “Voodoo” we were expecting something a lot darker, but this refreshing audioglass of Summer is too irresistible not to like, especially as each chorus gets book-ended by guitar attack and funky bass and drum syncopation.

Luke Llewellyn’s vocals sound like a cheerful Robert Smith at times, and along with Tom Collins (guitar and vox) and Michael Owen (bass and vocals), the trio have created a fantastically funky rhythm section that brings to mind Vampire Weekend and makes this three piece stand out from the crowd. Recommended listening for your next pre-loading session before you hit the town.

“Voodoo” is out on July 31 through Spiral Icon.

Posted in TVD UK | 1 Comment

A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

Another week, another Thursday, another podcast from the zany trio at A Badge Of Friendship!

Joining the gang in the studio this week is Sean from Daytrotter, where they discuss how his love for music and living in a small town in Illinois inspired him to build an online platform so that he could watch live bands that would usually skip his local venue for the bigger cities.

The gang also dig through this week’s music news to discuss the now infamous, sad Billy Corgan at Disneyland pic, and chat about Albert Hammond Jr.’s claim that being in The Strokes is fun, but not challenging. And, of course, those features that just won’t quit are back and cheesier, weirder, and labellier (that last one doesn’t quite work) than ever, and there may even be a brand new listener of the week!

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

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Graded on a Curve:
Bert Jansch,
Live at the 12 Bar

For acolytes of fingerpicking it simply doesn’t get much better than Bert Jansch. Starting in the mid-‘60s the late guitar master issued a series of killer platters that extensively impacted Great Britain’s subsequent musical direction; by extension he altered events Stateside and around the globe, though Jansch was less well-known in the USA. Like numerous vets he struggled through some hard times, but 1995 was a productive year marked by a studio album and a series of gigs, one of which was captured on Live at the 12 Bar. On August 7 it’s available on vinyl for the first time via Earth Recordings.

Akin to many humans wielding acoustic guitars while traversing the highways and byways of the 1960s, the Scottish-born Bert Jansch’s listening habits included Woodrow Guthrie, Big Bill Broonzy, Leadbelly, Brownie McGhee, and a mess of traditional material, but all it took was a listen to his string of LPs for the Transatlantic label to grasp him as far from a garden variety folkie.

Commencing with a self-titled effort and It Don’t Bother Me in ’65, his nimble fingers, utterly fresh compositions and tough warmth of voice resulted in influence spreading to Donovan, Paul Simon, Nick Drake, Neil Young, and Jimmy Page, who in recognizing the greatness in Jansch’s arrangement of “Blackwaterside” from ‘66’s Jack Orion, promptly stole it as “Black Mountain Side” on Led Zep’s first album.

Jansch also recorded Bert and John in ’66 with his fellow picker John Renbourn, the pair additionally collaborating in the highly regarded folk-jazz-baroque-rock outfit The Pentangle. A five-piece of no small popularity, they cut six slabs between ’68 and ’72 and reportedly embarked on five world tours as Jansch’s own discography grew to eight LPs; he eventually took a sensible break and tended a farm for a couple years.

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In rotation: 7/30/15

Vinyl Tuesday Set to Launch in Indie Stores Next Week: “…Vinyl Tuesday ‘is a way for us to encourage artists, labels, distributors and managers to continue to release physical music on Tuesdays when they can. This allows physical retailers to have something fresh to sell and to talk about during the week, and lets those releases not just get lost on the increasingly crowded Friday/ weekend.’”

Rediscovering vinyl in Brockville: “Houle sees the vinyl revival that the music industry is experiencing as a byproduct of this tendency, as a way to unplug and get a higher quality listening experience. After all, he said, ‘MP3s sound like sh**.’

Grandmaster Flash Lost Priceless Record Collection In Car Mix-up: Rap Pioneer Grandmaster Flash Lost His Treasured Collection Of Vinyl Records When His Car Was Stolen In A Valet Parking Mix-up Earlier This Month (Jul15).

Faith No More’s Gould Sold Off Record Collection To Annoy Friends: “I traded my classic vinyl collection for Huey Lewis And The News records just to piss off my friends. It was the stupidest thing I’ve ever done – but for about 10 minutes I got a lot of satisfaction out of it.”

Vinyl Album Cover Stories: Beastie Boys, ‘Licensed To Ill’: “…unlike your basic presidential candidate, the Beasties were intentionally loud, crude, in your face and funny. Pity the poor album cover designer who had to capture all of that in a single image.”

Anyone Who is Interested in Vinyl Records Should Go to a Record Store: “…the best means of listening to recorded music is a good old fashioned turntable.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Alice in Chains at the
Fox Theater, 7/24

An evening with Alice in Chains, a sold out crowd, and a setlist that perfectly captures the legacy of one of the most influential and successful American rock bands of the last two decades. No opening band, just two hours of epic music. And they sounded so spectacular live that I would easily list them as one of the top five touring bands on the planet at the moment.

Frontman William Duvall is simply masterful at handling lead vocals and his guitar adds a welcomed layer to the band’s colossal wall of sound that wasn’t there before. And before you say that no one can replace the late, great Layne Staley, I will say that I agree. He’s not trying to. Duvall sounds fucking amazing on the classic material and adds a new dimension to the Alice in Chains sound—keeping it alive and well.

And how’s the rest of the band? Jerry Cantrell looks and sounds as good as ever before, Sean Kinney still pounds the shit out of his drums, and Mike Inez continues to make it look effortless laying down the bass upon some of the heaviest grooves of all time. Collectively these guys look like a band that still very much loves to perform, instead of those who tour only for a paycheck.

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TVD Live Shots: The Pennsylvania Blues Festival at Split Rock Resort, 7/25

Our own Doug Seymour attended the Pennsylvania Blues Festival on July 25th at the Split Rock Resort in Lake Harmony, PA to capture the day’s events.

Blues singer Shemekia Copeland, daughter of the late great Johnny Copeland, headlined the festival.

There was also a late night showcase featuring the original members of Johnny Copeland’s band. This was the first time the group had performed together since Johnny’s passing in 1997. Shemekia Copeland joined the band for this historic moment.

The full day’s events are captured on the flip.

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