Monthly Archives: August 2015

TVD Live: AC/DC at MetLife Stadium, 8/26

PHOTOS: DAVE BARNHOUSER | In the world of rock music today, there are a scant few bands still touring who can be categorized as “living legends.” The Stones. The Boss. McCartney. Yet even with the legendary history behind those great artists, none today have the sheer power—dare I say the “high voltage rock and roll”—of the mighty AC/DC. After four decades of the purest, no-frills heavy rock on the planet, the band is still at it and as heavy as ever.

On this stop at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the faces had changed a bit, but the rock stayed the same. Former drummer (Razor’s Edge-era) Chris Slade has rejoined the fold, stepping behind the kit for longtime drummer Phil Rudd, who is under house arrest due to some, well, legal issues.

The other change in the lineup, and the most disappointing one, would be the absence of founding member and band leader Malcolm Young. Retired due to debilitating health issues, the band kept it in the family, recruiting nephew Stevie Young to fill the void at stage right on rhythm guitar.

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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.

“I don’t attend church much anymore, but listening to records at Michael Fremer’s home is—for me—about as close as it gets. That’s really not hyperbole: if you believe that music is one of the highest representations of holiness on Earth, then listening to pure analog on a major hi-fi system is nothing short of a moving, religious experience. Again, Michael has graciously allowed me to cull through his library, pull out some Jersey-based albums, hear them on his system, and make digital copies of those recordings for you to hear.

For Mr. Fremer—Senior Contributing Editor of Stereophile magazine and Editor of Analog Planet—vinyl is not just a recent fad. He’s loved and championed records for decades and has a true passion in discovering the ones which sound the best and make the little hairs on your arms stand up. Hear him tell you all about it this week. We’ll also talk Sinatra, Bill Evans, Springsteen, Paul McCartney, Les Paul, The Isley Brothers, George Clinton, and more.” —EZT

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ZZ Ward,
The TVD Interview

It’s not easy to describe what ZZ Ward does, and thank goodness for that. When her first single, “Put the Gun Down,” became a critically acclaimed sensation in 2012, Ward’s relentless talent and drive was turned up to eleven. Just like that, her sonic finger painting with blues and soul and hip-hop and rock was everywhere, and so was ZZ Ward.

It’s been three years of touring and writing and touring some more for Ward. After much perfecting and polishing with the help of S1 (the Grammy-winning producer who’s worked with Kanye West, Eminem, Beyonce, and Madonna), she’s completed a highly anticipated EP, Love and War, which is out now. (The full-length album, This Means War, is due September 18.)

Perhaps the best thing about Love and War’s signature single, “Love 3X,” is that it is not what you might expect from an artist who is routinely compared to both Tina Turner and Etta James; ZZ Ward is all about creative turns. The summery pop of “Love 3X” retains all of ZZ Ward’s unmistakable swagger and soul, and is insanely catchy at the same time. It’s not fair to call it a balancing act, really, because ZZ Ward makes it all look so easy.

And so ZZ Ward continues to deliver a genuine alternative to music-by-committee and to fly in the face of critical expectations. When we chatted with her, she was about to embark on her Love and War Tour. She talked about her inspirations, on being a perfectionist, and what it’s like caring about every single bit of a project (including vinyl).

I see your dog Muddy in a lot of pictures with you. It must be great to have her with you on tour to kind of help you chill.

Yes! I take her everywhere. We’re ready to get on the tour bus for two months! She loves it; she spends more time on the tour bus than she has at home, so she’s used to it.

I’ve read and watched quite a few interviews with you, and I don’t think anybody has described you, as an artist, the same way twice. It changes from “blues and R&B singer” to “new rock chanteuse” to any number of categories. Does that bother or inspire you?

[Laughs] I don’t know… I mean, especially when people ask me what genre of music I am, it’s always really tricky because I think being a songwriter and a producer and a creator, it’s like… I’m not really thinking about categories I want to stay in when I’m working on music. I’m just thinking about what things make me feel like. So it’s always really a tricky question when people ask you, “So, what genre of music does your music fall into?” It’s like, wow, you really have to put a label on it? But that’s how it is. I’ve learned to give it my best shot and say it’s kind of a mixture between blues and hip-hop.

But I feel like, especially if something’s new, you have to compare it to something else if you’re telling your friend about it. “Have you checked out so-and-so? They sound a little bit like this.” And that always gives somebody a good idea of what they’re getting into. I’ve noticed that that just kind of exists, you know, when you’re an artist.

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Graded on a Curve:
Led Zeppelin,
In Through the Out Door

Now listen here: Once upon a time there was a band called Led Zeppelin, and they laid down more barbaric heavy metal riffs than anybody, ever. They came from the land of ice and snow, and produced a Hun-like din, and if you heard them approaching your castle walls the wisest move was to flee via the back door. Guitarist Jimmy Page seemed to possess an inexhaustible repertoire of battering ram riffs designed to smash through castle gates, and what he couldn’t turn to splinters John Bonham, his catapult-fisted drummer, could. There was nobody quite like them when it came to the employment of brute and unremitting force, and there never will be.

But in case you haven’t noticed there are no Huns rampaging across the countryside raping and repining, haven’t been for centuries. Because nothing lasts forever, and so it went for Led Zeppelin, who officially disbanded in December 1980, several months after Bonham died from asphyxiation of vomit following a day of supernatural drinking (four quadruple vodkas—and that was just breakfast!).

Led Zeppelin’s first six LPs are unimpeachably great; the debate over quality arises only in relation to their final three albums, one of which (1982’s Coda) was a collection of unreleased odds and sods from sessions that took place years before. Me, I’m primarily interested in their final studio LP, 1979’s In Through the Out Door. Critical reaction was at first lukewarm at best. Over the years, however, there has been a reappraisal, with many a critic eating his words. So which is it? Led Zeppelin at their best, or worst? Or somewhere in that vast middle ground, where the bustle in the hedgerow is just the spring clean of the May Queen?

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TVD’s Press Play

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

Merry Ellen Kirk – Lovers & Liars
Hayden Calnin – White Night
Hezekiah Jones – The Dark Heart’s Out
McClain Sullivan – Happy Anniversary
Two Thirds Goat – Young Man
Postcards From Jeff – Modern Language
Pelicans And Their Allies – Just Like July
Jaeger Wells – What It Feels Like
Oryx & Crake – The World Will Take Care Of Me
Ghosts In Pocket – Barberton

Uncle Acid & the Deadbeats – Melody Lane

Nick Pes – California
Moa Holmsten – Tougher Than The Rest
Warning Light – Learn To Curve
Blonde Summer – Blazed
Youth Man – Pigs
Major Lazer ft. MØ – Lean On (TRIBE SOCIETY REFIX)
Frank Trumbauer – Crazy Quilt (Jive Me Rework)
The Jones Family Singers – I Am
Adir L.C. – New City
Patrick Baker – Gone (Berger & Shaqiri Remix)

4 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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In rotation: 8/31/15

Waxwork Announces ‘Evil Dead 2′ Vinyl: Needs Your Help For Design, “We’re letting YOU, the fans, design the LP release! This is certainly unchartered territory for any record label, but we feel that this film and score is a beloved horror gem, and only the hardest of the hardcore EVIL DEAD 2 fans can come up with the BEST possible LP package.”

Big Birmingham record fair is set to hit right note: For 15 years, the renowned, record-breaking Big Birmingham Record Fair was held at the NIA but this year it has moved to a new venue, Cocks Moors Leisure Centre, Kings Heath.

Critic airs tales of music industry sexism: Jessica Hopper put out a call for female colleagues to tell their stories, which ranged from enduring misogynistic comments to sexual assault, “Brown makes a point of exclusively using vinyl records for her sets. ‘I wanted to find a way to communicate that yes, these are my records, and they might be heavy but I’m the one carrying them, I’m the one doing the work and I’m calling the shots,’ Brown said in an e-mail.”

Canary Wharf’s music lovers can spin Britpop vinyl at W Hotel: “After a busy afternoon of meetings in the West End you can set the music playing at W Hotel Leicester Square. The venue has launched its Britpop vinyl record room service in collaboration with DJ Lauren Laverne to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the iconic chart battle between Oasis and Blur.”

Urban Grinders opens in downtown Greensboro: “The shop offers baked goods, including vegan and gluten-free, from bakeries like Walflour and New Garden Bagels. The shop also retails vinyl toys and vinyl records.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Music City, USA!

This, my rock ‘n’ roll journey, found me on the move and in front of many bands. Yeah man, “sky high” on bands! Last weekend’s FYF (Fuck Yeah) rolled into a short trip to Nashville and another great night of bands. Houndmouth, Cold War Kids, J Roddy Walston & The Business on a summer night in the south sounded like a cool idea for about 20,000 of us.

This will be my first of two trips to Nashville over the next month. With age I’ve learned to really appreciate “the south” and all that it brings to mind; hospitality, good food, and guitars. The emergence of a cool rock scene coming out of the south is imminent and Nashville will certainly be the hub. A few cats from LA and many former New Yorkers have relocated for a comfortable lifestyle and a town that is drenched in sound.

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TVD Live Shots: Social Distortion, Nikki Lane, and Drag the River at the Fillmore, 8/25

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of their self titled release, Social Distortion made their way to The Fillmore in Silver Spring, MD and with them a dose of much-needed punk rock in a manner and style that only Social Distortion can deliver.

Performing to a sold out crowd, Mike Ness and his band nailed a spot on, rock solid performance of the most beloved and celebrated album in their catalog. The album marked the band’s third full length studio release and represents a pivotal moment in their career—commercial success and eventually gold status.

Playing the album in order (mostly) from front to back, the performance felt more like a ride down memory lane than it did a mere Social Distortion show. With his characteristic voice, heavy snarls, and his perfect guitar tone, Mike Ness breezed through his set flawlessly hitting all the right vocal accents and performing every lead guitar part with style and precision.

Stage volume almost hit ear-bleeding levels as Ness still seems to be a living example of the sentiment, “the louder it is, the better it sounds,” however watching Ness, Wickersham, and the boys play this album live was indeed a pleasure.

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TVD Recommends: Ed Volker’s Jolly House at Chickie Wah Wah, 8/29

There’s a lot going on Saturday night including the Krewe of OAK’s Midsummer Mardi Gras parade, so the fine folks at Chickie Wah Wah have pushed back their usual schedule. Phil DeGruy and Emily Robinson open the show at 9 PM.

Dubbed “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out,” this incarnation of Jolly House will present “Deep Fishhead Blues” on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina. Keyboardist and singer/ songwriter Ed Volker, aka Zeke Fishhead, gathers two of his longtime musical partners, bassist Reggie Scanlan and percussionist Michael Skinkus, to perform with former James Brown bandleader and Scanlan’s partner in the New Orleans Suspects, saxophonist Jeff Watkins.

Guitarist Phil DeGruy and vocalist Emily Robertson will open the show with “Gone With the Wind Chimes, “ their Katrinaversary musical satire. Phil said expect to see his giant set of chimes, tuned to the key of G flat.

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Adam Cleaver,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl was always mythical for me. My parents were those types that allowed their vinyl to float up to the attic to make way for CDs. That’s not to say they didn’t appreciate the records anymore. Perhaps at a time they may have been purists but their records didn’t stand the test of time, tucked away in storage with a myriad of other memories.”

“My first experience of vinyl was when I was about 12 or 13. Some sort of spring clean granted me access to the loft storage and I found myself rummaging through two big leather cases full of 12” LPs. My parents mostly listened to pop music so there was plenty of Michael Jackson, Hall and Oates, and Elton John. I remember being drawn to a Blondie album. It was Parallel Lines. The monochrome stripes seemed to be grabbing my attention (to this day I’m still drawn to monochrome artwork).

I ran my fingers along the grooves of the record, trying to sense where the sound came from. It speaks volumes that my first contact with vinyl wasn’t aural but physical. A huge part of the appeal is how calming it can be to interact with it.

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In rotation: 8/28/15

New Record Store in Fairlawn Set to Open in September: “I’ve been bringing vinyl in since the first of July,” he says. “It’s been so much fun to order records. This is all about the vinyl culture. The CD market is done. Everything has gone digital. When you buy a record now, they throw the CD in it for free. With almost every Black Keys album that you get on vinyl, the CD just comes with it. There’s something about opening up the vinyl album and reading the lyrics and liner notes and seeing who played on the album. It provides an education about the music. Having an art background, I love the artwork.”

Vinyl lives: Scotti’s Record Shop, Summit, NJ: “Any business that stays open for over fifty years safely earns the status of being an institution. Any record store that stays in business for this long earns the status of hero. Nestled between Summit Ski & Sport and the Bow Tie Beacon Cinema along the store-lined Springfield Ave in Summit, New Jersey, Scotti’s Record Shop is exactly what comes to mind when you think about a neighborhood record shop.

Pink Floyd pig in Suffolk pop memorabilia auction: Iconic inflatable stage props – including Pink Floyd’s famous pig “Algie” – are to be sold at auction. Halesworth-based Air Artists is selling 30 years’ of its work, used by the likes of the Rolling Stones and ACDC. The star lot is Algie, which famously halted flights over Heathrow after breaking loose from its moorings over Battersea Power Station in 1976.

Kraftwerk set to release a “3D album” later this year: “Kraftwerk are to translate their visual shows into a “3D album”, set to be released in late autumn on Blu-ray. Speaking to Rolling Stone, sole original member Ralf Hütter said: “We translated our performances to 3D, and in surround sound, kind of like 3D sound.”

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Passport To Stockholm,
The TVD First Date

“My first record shop experience was on my 8th birthday. My godmother used to give me double my age in cash each year—that year I was cash rich with £16 in my pocket and I knew exactly how I was going to spend it.”

“Earlier in the week I had heard an American band on Capital FM (then London’s biggest station)—that band was called the Goo Goo Dolls and the song in question was of course their seminal hit “Iris.” I remember being struck by the acoustic guitars and the vocal. I needed to have this song in my life.

So off I went with my mum to my local HMV (a chain of record shops here in the UK with an iconic logo of a dog sitting next to a gramophone—His Master’s Voice—sadly HMVs cease to exist now). Without really knowing what I was doing I just said to the nearest shop assistant that I was looking for the Goo Goo Dolls. “Singles or albums?” “I have £16?—albums.”

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UK Video: The Jaguar Club, “Hard Cider”

NYC has always been known for its cutting edge music scene with some of indie’s most daring and avant-garde hailing from the Big Apple. The Jaguar Club write understated, gloom-gaze indie that’s Future Islands meets The Cure.

The video for their latest release, “Hard Cider” is a track taken from their EP “Close” which was released earlier this year. The video features claymation and various other forms of animation, all in black and white, interspersed by beautiful imagery of a sunlit forest.

The EP is out now but we can’t wait to hear some new tracks soon. As the Autumn season eases in, The Jaguar Club are fast becoming our new autumnal favourites.

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TVD Recommends:
Cuban legends Los Van Van at the House of
Blues tonight, 8/27

This gig tonight at the House of Blues may be flying under the radar amid all the Katrina 10-year anniversary hype, but for fans of Cuban dance music or international music of any genre, I highly recommend checking out this legendary group. They are on their first U.S. tour since the two countries have begun normalizing relations.

Arguably one the most important bands to form in Cuba since the Castro revolution, Los Van Van was formed in 1969 by bassist Juan Formell. Formell passed away last year at 71, but the group, which has gone through many personnel changes over the years, forged on. Fans says, “the train keeps a rollin’” referring both to the continuation of the group and their highly syncopated dance music.

Like many international acts formed in the late 1960s including many members of Brazil’s Tropicália generation, Los Van Van sought to reach the youth movement by tapping into the burgeoning sounds of rock music. This hybrid style is called timba and has grown to include other elements as well including funk and R&B.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

It’s a very special Thursday indeed this week as those three kooks at A Badge Of Friendship have hit their 20th episode! Pay no attention to the URL and its lies—there was a double bill a few weeks back.

To celebrate not getting kicked off the air, the gang racked their brains, and the brains of this week’s guests, to create a “How To – Music Industry” special. So, if you want to know how to take your first steps in the music biz, this is as good a place as any to start.

Imparting wisdom on the listeners this week are James Brown from Pulled Apart By Horses, Gigwise editor and full-time legend Andrew Trendell, and Olive Grove Records’ founder Lloyd Meredith. Idlewild’s Rod Jones also sends in some tips and tricks about making the most of life in a band, as well as Torche’s Andrew Elstner.

Music heard live on the show cannot be heard on this podcast but check out the tracks featured on this week’s show below:

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