Monthly Archives: September 2015

Graded on a Curve: Duran Duran, Rio

God, did I detest Duran Duran growing up. Hated them. Loathed them. Wanted to go to England and set them on fire. With a flamethrower. Burn them to a synthpop crisp. They were everything I despised; slick, synthesizer-driven, and catchy, the perfect betrayal of everything punk had set out to do.

Plus they were worked with fashion designers to perfect their look, something I’d only allow David Bowie to do. And they were even too lazy to think of a second word for their band that wasn’t the same as the first word. Come on! Get up off your ass and think of another word! Who do you want to be, Talk Talk? Robert Christgau put the New Wave supergroup in his place when he called them, “The most deplorable pop stars of the postpunk if not post-Presley era.” I’d cast my vote for the Police, but he’s on to something.

But something appalling happened over the years, at least in my case; hatred turned to a grudging neutrality, and I was finally able to appreciate their synthpop charms. Sort of. They’re still too slick by a country mile, but slick is what synthpop was—machines making perfect noises. But I can listen to them now without wanting to die, and I suspect that’s a bad thing. Have I surrendered? Or have I merely succumbed to that insidious undertow of nostalgia that so frequently turns the songs you loathed in your youth into latter-day radio sing-alongs? It’s a mystery, that nostalgia; how is it I suddenly like the hated “Hungry Like the Wolf” but will never, ever, surrender my adamantine loathing for Bob Seger’s “Old Time Rock’n’Roll”?

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TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new—and FREE—tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

Whiskerman – One Good Way
Nate Leavitt – Where Did Your Love Go
McClain Sullivan – Happy Anniversary
Rebecca Everett – Sting Of A Kiss
Oryx & Crake – The World Will Take Care Of Me
Hezekiah Jones – The Dark Heart’s Out
Rosenthal – April Eyes
Home Lives – Cool Waves Young Blood
Postcards From Jeff – Modern Language
Kapil Seshasayee – Crimes

Curtsy – Run Cold

Elle Kaye – Happy Birthday (It’s Your Birthday)
GUIDES – Pictures On Pictures
Five Eight – Behead Myself
Warning Light – A Love Complication
Rastronaut – Flexx
Elias – Revolution (Ace Supreme Remix)
Keep Shelly In Athens ~ Benighted (Different Sleep Remix)
Sofie Letitre – Real (Infuze Remix)
Älex and The Talai Lama – Good For You
Kids At Midnight – Electrified

5 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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In rotation: 9/28/15

At Som, other music stores, vinyl keeps spinning: “When Som opened in 2006, “The only people that were still using it [vinyl] were DJs and music collectors,” Becton says. But his store, in a basement on 14th Street NW, has lasted long enough for the old to be new again. Vinyl is holding its own in a digitized world.”

The US vinyl market in 2015 is worth more than Spotify freem YouTube, and Vevo combined: “As What Hi-Fi report, Vinyl sales are also up 52% and are now responsible for 30% of all physical units shifted in the US this year. And yet, despite commanding just 7% of the overall market share, the value of the vinyl market has outstripped free or ad-supported streaming services.”

24 Things You Should Know Before Starting A Vinyl Collection: “You are an audiophile, and fetishize the sound of analog recordings, or you simply like the aesthetics of vinyl records, packaging, and turntables. It can absolutely be both! But the aesthetics, the physical aspect of it, is pretty key to its appeal.

Record store owners say Louisville is still in love with vinyl: “If you thought vinyl was a thing of the past, people in Louisville are here to set the record straight. “It’s the closest things to live that you can get, actually putting a record on,” said Ben Jones.
Jones has been the owner of Better Days Records in The Highlands since 1982. A connoisseur of the turntable, he says there’s an obvious rebirth in record popularity.

Desire books brings old artform into fold: “As small, independent bookshops fall by the wayside at an alarming rate, one local shop is determined to keep all the plates spinning … not to mention the vinyl.

Gloucester High educator named Camden County ‘Teacher of the Year’: “[Elizabeth “Kati” Light] a 1995 graduate of Gloucester High School, impacts the school community far beyond the classroom. She holds weekly meetings with her Yoga, Diversity, Vinyl Record, and Art Clubs. She also coaches both the Boys’ Track and Boys’ Cross-Country Teams.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Last weekend I came back from a warm and humid Nashville to a sweltering “pirate park.” It was lil Jonah’s first game of “Fall ball” in the valley. Yep, the kids are still playing baseball. After a sun drenched and annoying day of travel from “the nash,” I was truly baked.

As I finally got around to unpacking my bags and getting organized for Monday’s “music bizz shuffle,” I noticed 2 CDs parked on the desk. In truth, these discs have been on my desk for a few weeks. I had brought them back from Nashville on my last trip there 3 weeks ago.

It’s strange to think there is such a limited use for a CD in 2015. It seems like just yesterday when in the summer of ’85, we scratched and shook our heads at the prospect of CD replacing vinyl and cassettes. Wow, what a concept! Personally, I like CDs because I drive a Prius—when it’s time to chat on the phone, a CD stops on a dime thus saving the spot.

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TVD Live: The Fratellis at the 9:30 Club, 9/21

It might have been fitting that the Fratellis’ big sold out show at the 9:30 Club Monday came on the same night preseason hockey started. It is their anthem “Chelsea Dagger,” after all, that has become the biggest NHL anthem since Gary Glitter.

Even if you don’t know the title, you still know it, since it’s been adopted by the Chicago Blackhawks, all of its farm teams, a bunch of TV shows and commercials to boot. It’s like one of those rock songs that’s in the air at all times, its “Dat-ta-ta-da..” indicating a certain carefree go-to-hell spirit, but an especially fierce one.

But there were no hockey jerseys visible in the sellout crowd. Instead a bunch of people who knew every one of their songs that similarly combine soccer stadium chants and crunching chords, creating a kind of call-and-response, as in “Flathead,” another early song, that itself was used in an iPad ad.

And while the Fratellis could certainly fashion a career out of such a formula, their approach is much more varied, touching on a twang here and there, a classic ’50s styling there, something approaching a ballad over here. One of their best songs, a ’60s style “Lupe Brown” from their unfairly-maligned second album Here We Stand, got a performance worthy of its majesty. But they rock overall in a way that kept a generous set of nearly two dozen songs driving from start to finish.

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TVD Live Shots: Heart
at the Masonic, 9/17

Photographed by Jason Miller-28

I distinctly remember seeing this one album cover growing up with these two super hot chicks on it that my mother used to listen to constantly. It might have been the first time I had ever heard hard rock music before.

The record was called Dreamboat Annie and those two beautiful ladies were the incredibly talented sister duo of Ann and Nancy Wilson. This record came out when I was two, so I’m guessing that I didn’t fully comprehend the greatness of this rock ‘n’ roll masterpiece until I was at least six, but this was one of those records than never left my parents’ turntable.

Photographed by Jason Miller-16

Songs like “Magic Man” and “Crazy on You” have been stuck in my head for close to three decades now, and I really never get tired of hearing those songs. Heart has sold more than 35 million albums worldwide and they continue to carry their signature hard rock sound along with their incredibly diverse folky ventures. Last week a stellar version of Heart made their triumphant return to San Francisco. Fueled of course by the core of the band, Ann and Nancy, it was worth the wait.

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Great Father,
The TVD First Date

“Vinyl is great until you move.”

“When we came back to Cleveland from Brooklyn last year, I had over 40 boxes of records from my personal collection, in addition to the dozen or so boxes of stock from the label I help run. We lived on the fourth floor of a walkup. I wasn’t there when the movers came to load up the truck but my wife said that on multiple occasions, the moving guys asked her, “Hasn’t your husband ever heard of mp3s?” Of course! In actuality, I still have a functioning 2nd generation / LED backlit iPod that remarkably still works…but you can’t go to an mp3 store or mp3 fair!

I started collecting records in my mid-teens, back in the early to mid-’90s. In retrospect, it was really cool to experience one of the last eras when you found out about records primarily through reading ‘zines, listening to college radio, reading liner notes, using mail-order catalogs, and of course, going to the record store. The further you got into what you enjoyed, the more you felt like you were part of an “exclusive club” that you worked really hard to find out even existed. Sometimes the fates aligned and you got turned onto some truly memorable albums.

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TVD Recommends: Charlie Hunter with Johnny Vidacovich,
3 shows 9/26–9/27

The virtuoso seven-string guitarist is in town for three separate performances with drummer Johnny Vidacovich. The stretch begins Saturday night evening and ends Sunday night.

Charlie Hunter has made a name for himself with his unique way of playing guitar. He essentially plays all the bass parts on his unique instrument allowing him to stretch out in uncommon ways. It also allows him to create a full band sound when accompanied by a single drummer.

Of course, if that drummer is Johnny Vidacovich, the sound will be even fuller as the Crescent City veteran, who has played with a veritable who’s who in every genre imaginable, is a monster on the kit.

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Graded on a Curve:
The War on Drugs, Wagonwheel Blues

I’ll never forget the night my brother and I—shitfaced as usual—spent hours trying to break into, rather than out of, Philadelphia’s long-abandoned Eastern Penitentiary. It was, in its way, a typical night back in those days; the two of would seek out the seediest old man bars, where the television stood on a stack of empty beer cases and no one ever ordered one of the jarred pig knuckles, or where you might see a pile of broken furniture in a dim corner, the remnants of some legendary knuckleduster.

I don’t know what any of this has to do with Philadelphia’s The War on Drugs, except that I’m glad they’re around; when I was there, the only two acts Philly was famous for were The Dead Milkmen and The Hooters—a paltry contribution to the national music scene, at best. So I’m happy to call The War on Drugs a Philly band; the city that got such negative attention for Frank Rizzo, one truly badass mob war, and the MOVE abomination deserves all the good bands it can get.

The War on Drugs were formed in Philly by Adam Granduciel and Kurt Vile in 2005, with Vile jumping ship after their debut, 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues, to go solo. But Granduciel kept the faith, and The War on Drugs went places. Me, I like all of their work, but hold a special place in my heart for their debut, because it’s snazzy and snappy and puts “Coast Reprise” before “Show Me the Coast,” which makes me unaccountably happy. Both Granduciel and Vile are avowed Dylan devotees, and you can hear echoes, but they’re anything but slavish imitators.

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In rotation: 9/25/15

$30,000 turntable makes your LPs sound like a million bucks: “In the world of audio products, “high-end” is code for expensive: Each of the new SG1.2 turntables costs $30,000. If you invested in one of the older SG1.1s a few years ago and you’re feeling burned right now by the shiny new business, take a breath: Spiral Groove will upgrade your SG1.1 with all the new tech for just $6,000.

U-Turn Audio slashes the cost of bona-fide audiophile turntables: “It sells for $309, and that price includes a premounted Grado Black 1 cartridge. The turntable is available in your choice of black, white, red, green or blue, and it comes with a clear plastic dustcover.”

Brooklyn Flea Record Fair DJ lineup revealed; Smorgasburg open now in Prospect Park, coming to Sunset Park this winter: “the 2015 fall Brooklyn Flea Record Fair happens Saturday, September 26 at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg. The vendors were already announced (4AD, Warp, XL, Other Music and more) and now the DJ lineup is here. It includes members of Small Black, Yumi Zouma and Lemonade, label reps from Mute, Ghostly International and Beyond Beyond Is Beyond, record store employees from Captured Tracks Shop, and a WFMU DJ…”

Local stories: Tim Matranga, co-owner of Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage, “What do you do when you have a vinyl record collection of more than 8,000 albums and a passion for vintage, midcentury modern furniture and accessories? Open a store, of course. That is exactly what Tim Matranga and his wife Laura did this May with Kicksville Vinyl & Vintage in the Warehouse Artist Lofts on the R Street Corridor.”

Inventive dad pimped £120 eBay trailer into luxury caravan with vinyl record floor: “But it’s no ordinary holiday home – because it’s got a floor made from broken vinyl records and the outside is cladded with more than 4,000 CDs which he found in a local recycling centre.”

A Chorus Line Album Gets 40th Anniversary Re-Release With Bonus Tracks of Deleted and Rewritten Songs: “The album will also be released in a new audiophile vinyl LP edition. Cut from high-resolution files by Kevin Gray at Cohearent Audio and manufactured on 180-gram vinyl at Memphis Record Pressing, the set will include a digital download card redeemable for the entire 40th Anniversary Celebration set.”

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TVD Live Shots:
Ride and DIIV at the
9:30 Club, 9/17

Kicking off their current reunion tour in DC’s venerable 9:30 Club, legendary shoe-gazers, Ride from Oxford, England have returned to form, both stylistically and sonically. With a simple yet prominent banner hanging behind the stage with the band’s bold logo, the scene was set and the crowd was primed to hear what would be a fantastic night of music.

Ride is currently touring to celebrate the 25 anniversary of their debut album, Nowhere which landed in record shops in October of 1990. Then as now, every detail about their sound on stage is absolutely perfect. It’s not just the clear, bright (often British) guitar tone, but the mix of each member’s unique tones coming together to create one superb presence.

Ride has certainly left a major mark on music and culture in their wake. In fact, the band has become almost a thing of legend particularly among musicians—a musicians band, if you will. Most notable is Mark Gardener with his intensely bright guitar tone and signature laid back vocals, complimented by Alan Bell’s shimmering guitar. Behind them is bass player Steve Queralt and one of the best drummers in the genre, Laurence Colbert. Ride’s performance in DC was stellar.

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TVD Ticket Giveaway: Landmark Music Festival for the National Mall, 9/26–9/27

As we’ve noted over the past few weeks among our 3 Landmark Music Festival ticket giveaways, it’s often said that Washington, DC lacks for very little. It’s literally ground zero and the epicenter of national and international politics, there’s nightlife from the urbane to the DIY, and a thriving cultural and arts community—yet there’s a discernible absence of a festival scene in DC proper along the lines of say a Lollapalooza or Austin City Limits. Sure, there are any number of smaller enclaves self-promoting shows and specific scenes that are thriving—just nothing to the scale of “America’s Front Yard.”

Enter the Landmark Music Festival, content to not just throw a huge party for DC but to aid in the restoration and preservation of its host, the National Mall. As the organizers C3 Presents—who actually produce the aforementioned Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits (among others)—explain on the festival’s website, “The National Mall is more than just our country’s premier national park. It’s America’s Front Yard, the world’s window into the American story, and home to some of our nation’s most recognizable monuments, memorials and historic moments. It represents our country’s collective voice, its heroes, and its timeless values. But today, the National Mall—and all that it stands for—are at risk.

The Trust for the National Mall—an official partner of the National Park Service—is leading the charge to restore and improve the National Mall and honor its ideals for future generations through the new Landmark Campaign. Landmark Music Festival kicks off this monumental national campaign to bring awareness and funds to America’s Front Yard—all in a single Festival weekend unlike any other.”

We have two pairs of tickets left to give away leading up to the inaugural shindig on the Mall, and for the last of our giveaways we’re touching on the international acts that will rival the Pope for your attention this weekend,

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The Chordaes, The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Falling Up”

“My earliest memories of listening to music go back to my preschool years, when I’d spend afternoons at my grandparents’ apartment and they’d play records on their old stereo system. They’d put on popular standards or show tunes, and I was especially obsessed with My Fair Lady, which I made them play over and over. Apparently I used to sing “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly” in a Cockney accent at the time. While my memories of all this are hazy, I have no doubt that my songwriting has been heavily influenced by these classics.”

“I tend to write with a Tin Pan Alley structure, which is probably one reason people have compared my songs to The Beatles, who were of course also influenced by the standards. In fact it was Beatles records that first turned me onto rock music, as my parents had the red and blue greatest hits double LP’s, which I’d make them play on their turntable. The first one, 1962-1966, was an obsession, and I’d probably listened to it hundreds of times before the age of 4, staring at the album spread out on the floor.

Eventually, my family moved, the turntable was jettisoned, the records went into storage, and there came a long dark age when I had no access to vinyl. However, just recently, I set up a new turntable, hooked it into their speaker system, and got their hundreds of records out of storage. I also went to Innersleeve Records in Amagansett, New York, where there’s a huge assortment of new and used records, and picked up a few key albums. It’s hard to describe the pleasure of hearing Pet Sounds for the first time as it was meant to be heard—on vinyl. Another classic I’ve been playing is Supertramp’s Breakfast In America, which also has excellent album art.

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TVD Premiere: The
New Mastersounds, “High and Wide”


TVD presents an exclusive track off the landmark tenth studio album, Made For Pleasure, from The New Mastersounds. The cut, “High and Wide” captures the funky band at its most infectious. It is a brisk, up-tempo tune that evokes the punchy, buoyant horn-driven funk of classic American R&B.

The New Mastersounds are a British band who are heavily influenced by American funk and soul.The new album was recorded at The Living Room, a New Orleans studio built in a converted wood-frame church directly across the Mississippi River from downtown New Orleans.

The quartet—guitarist Eddie Roberts, drummer Simon Allen, bassist Pete Shand, and keyboardist Joe Tatton—invited several guests to join them in the studio. Longtime compatriot percussionist Mike Dillon recorded with the band for the first time, while former American Idol semi-finalist and Native American activist Charly Lowry brought her powerfully soulful vocals to three tracks.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

This Thursday A Badge Of Friendship have something very special planned for their weekly podcast—it’s a Soundtrack Special with three amazing guests!

The gang are joined on the phone by the Emmy Award winning creator of Veep, Armando Iannucci, who talks them through his favourite soundtracks as well as his process for picking music for his TV shows and films.

If that wasn’t enough, director Jon Schnepp and producer Holly Payne call in from LA to talk about their documentary The Death of Superman Lives: What Happened? and composer Freddy Scott‘s score for the film, as well as some personal favourite movie tunes.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a show without some level of absurdity, so to fill the quota the gang try and get Claire to hum John Williams’ themes back to back without messing them up—turns out, she finds it quite a challenge.

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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