Monthly Archives: December 2015

Happy Holidays!

We’ve closed up the shop today for the holidays. While we’re away, why not fire up our FREE Record Store Locator app and visit one of your local indie record stores this season?

Perhaps there’s an interview, review, or feature you might have missed? Catch up and we’ll see you back here on Monday, 1/4/16.

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The TVD Record Store Club for 12/18/15

Welcome to the TVD Record Store Club for the week ending 12/18/15.

The TVD Record Store Club is another free feature we’ve added to The TVD Record Store Locator App that recently relaunched refreshed and rebranded. The Club points to a record store agenda that we’re assembling for your weekend now that new release vinyl lands in stores on Fridays—AND for the early part of the week coming when those mom and pops could use the foot traffic.

Every Thursday we’ll be tipping you off right here at TVD—and within the app at the Club tab—to releases of merit newly on store shelves, along with in-store ticket giveaways you can win by simply waving the app, pricing incentives, contests, cool partner initiatives, and a host of surprises we’re looking forward to putting in your pocket on the regular.

Here’s the last slate of records for your 2015 radar—new from Baroness (for which we have the scoop on a gift with purchase in participating stores), the new Pantera vinyl box set, Deafheaven, and The Flaming Lips will usher in your new year.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

My list that started out as the top 40 reasons to love new music in 2015 turned in 64 artists, but who is counting or listening or reading—or gives a fuck?

Well, I do and that’s where my rock ‘n’ roll journey continues into 2016. Wishing all my friends and happy holidays and a peaceful and rocking new year. —sidel

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TVD Live Shots: The Struts and The Karma Killers at the Rock &
Roll Hotel, 12/15

Making up for a postponed show from October of this year, British rockers The Struts returned with their talents and showmanship as promised to the Rock & Roll Hotel in Washington, DC on Tuesday.

Having recently played a stadium show in nearby Northern Virginia, The Struts, on the road promoting their latest EP, “Have You Heard,” brought the glitz and charm to a far more up-close and personal setting, and the sold-out venue’s eager audience couldn’t seem to get enough of the UK retro-rock revivalists.

Highlights included front man Luke Spiller entering the crowd and coaxing the audience to the floor for a fun little sing along game, then later showering those in the crowd with champagne for a one wet encore. The band also used the venue to film footage for an upcoming video release.

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TVD Live Shots: Puscifer and Luchafer at the Pearl, Las Vegas, 12/12

For my final rock ‘n’ roll show of the year I decided to go with something truly unique. Something I’ve never seen before; a Puscifer show. What I got was a mix of Mexican wrestling—in the form of something called Luchafer—opening up for one of the most incredible performances of unadulterated musicianship, lyricism, and avant-garde rock music that I have ever heard before.

Puscifer is clearly one of the most uncomfortable names to pronounce in the biz today, and to be quite honest, whenever someone asked me what band I was going to see in the days before the show I always took a minute to brace them for a slightly uncomfortable moment, then we had a laugh. Puscifer is the brain child of eclectic Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. He’s put together a band of musicians who defy everything conventional you know about metal, progressive, and experimental music.

Puscifer Photographed by Jason Miller-28

Along the way, Maynard has figured out how to deliver this with a sort of socially conscious message without being overly aggressive and only slightly offensive. It’s more like a “you get out of this music what you put into listening to it” scenario. And Puscifer’s style of music is certainly something you don’t just put on in the background, but instead you pay close attention because it demands it.

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Calvin Johnson brings the Winter Wonder Jam to the Trinity Episcopal Church on 12/20

PHOTOS: HOWARD LAMBERT | The Trinity Artist Series at Trinity Episcopal Church is one of the great weekly events that happen in New Orleans. For years, they have brought in world-class talent for free concerts on Sunday evenings. This week is extra special as saxophonist Calvin Johnson, one of the leading lights of the next generation of New Orleans musicians, is pulling out all the stops with a great production.

Johnson has put together an impressive Christmas program, which will be augmented by two very special guests—trombonist and vocalist Glen David Andrews and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. The show will feature ten musicians including a string section. It benefits Habitat for Humanity and will be broadcast on WWOZ, 90.7 FM.

30-year old Calvin Johnson, Jr. comes from another illustrious musical family in New Orleans. His grandfather George Augustus “Son” Johnson led Works Progress Administration bands during the Great Depression and taught at the famed Grumswald School of Music. Four of his uncles are well-known musicians as well.

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The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess: In-store with TVD at DC’s Som Records

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Among the Twittersphere, you’ll find no larger proponent of the TVD Record Store Locator App than The Charlatans’ Tim Burgess. A traffic spike to the site or any hefty number of new followers is often had in the wake of a link to us or a mention of the app’s charms—typically in response to a query as to where Tim shops for vinyl wherever the band’s plane happens to land.

Touring in the States—finally after some time—and in support of the most recent and widely heralded release, 2015’s Modern Nature, it seemed most fitting to invite Tim to DC’s Som Records—blocks from our own office, and what has become the “set” for our shared record rummages.

As Tim discusses upon hitting play above, he’s currently writing a book as a reflection of his own passion for music on vinyl found in record stores—and his friends’ passion for records that infused their own taste in music and their own careers. As we neared Som Records, Tim had the app open in hand and rattled off a list of cities around the globe where he’s employed it and the records he’s taken home as a result. This time around however, we were off on the same mission together.

We’re with Tim Burgess from The Charlatans—let’s go record shopping.

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TVD’s The Best of 2015: New Releases, Part Two

‘Tis the season to peruse a bevy of numbered rundowns as websites undergo deserved holiday breaks. As it was with previous TVD Best of lists, the releases below aren’t an all-encompassing pronouncement from an overstuffed armchair on high; instead they are merely a hierarchy of loosely paired favorites assembled and presented with cheer as the calendar swiftly runs out of days.

5. This Record Belongs to __________ | Best of lists (those not compiled by committee, anyway) are fittingly self-centered affairs, but here’s an entry pertaining to a better future. In his recent book of music-related stories and enthusiasms The Record Store of the Mind, Josh Rosenthal makes the following powerful observation: “You realize a certain portion of your used LP collection belonged to dead people with similar tastes as you. And all your records will someday belong to someone else.”

After biting the proverbial dust our platters need to go somewhere, and Third Man and Light in the Attic’s kid-appropriate record player and accompanying album are a significant step in insuring our LPs and 45s don’t end up at the Salvation Army or worse, in the landfill. Opening with Shel Silverstein and closing with Kermit the Frog, the disc features Carole King, Nilsson, Woody Guthrie, and a swell stretch of Ella Jenkins, Nina Simone, Vashti Bunyan, and Donovan; the twin grooves of The Pointer Sisters’ “Pinball Number Count” and Van Dyke Parks’ “Occapella” should go a long way toward nurturing taste.

4. Oneohtrix Point Never, Garden of Delete | Having previously only dabbled in Daniel Lopatin’s work, I wasn’t adequately prepared for the rigorous experimentation shaping Garden of Delete. Sonic contemporaneousness gets diced, stretched, layered and twisted into a warped environment that can be enjoyed without irony by lobes lacking a substantial relationship to currently popular pop and zeitgeist electronica.

What Lopatin is up to doesn’t really seem too far afield from the work of John Oswald (he of Plunderphonics and Plexure fame); both have specialized in extensively manipulating aural textures while retaining fluctuating levels or recognizable ambiance, though Oneohtrix Point Never’s stuff, at least here, isn’t sample-based and therefore inspires a less specific sense of familiarity. Ultimately, Garden of Delete is chopped and bent surrealism of a fine stripe.

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Graded on a Curve:
Tonio K.,
Life in the Foodchain

How is it I’ve never heard Tonio K.? Honest answer: based solely on the name I ignorantly assumed that Tonio K. was a scantily clad female Prince protégé, or a defector from Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam. Turns out his given name is Steve Krikorian and he’s an LA irony-monger whose 1978 debut, Life in the Foodchain, is really something special.

Featuring a supporting cast of Earl Slick, Garth Hudson, Dick Dale, and Albert Lee, Life in the Foodchain won Tonio K.—who borrowed his Name from both Thomas Mann and Joseph Kafka—comparisons to England’s Angry Young Men and led music critic Steve Simels to dub it “the greatest album ever recorded.” I suspect that Simels was in the midst of a manic episode, but I do know that both Tonio K.’s melodies and lyrics are great, and that this is one top-notch New Wave LP.

The title cut is ironic; the “good life” in the food chain is “dog eat dog,” and while the guitars play a hard groove Tonio K. sings, “Because everybody’s hungry/And there isn’t quite enough.” Great guitar solo, one mean melody, and we’re in Warren Zevon territory here, just as we are on “The Funky Western Civilization,” one bitter diatribe centered on a new dance sensation called “the Funky Western Civilization.”

The guitar sears and a horn section throws in while Tonio K. sings, “There’s a baby every minute bein’ born without a chance/Now don’t that make you want to jump right up and start to dance.” And not only that, but it comes complete with both a guitar doing a chicken imitation and a French chick who tosses in a quick monologue before saying in French, “You can bullshit the baker and get the buns/You can back out of every deal except one.”

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In rotation: 12/18/15

Volume cranks up on crate digging, vinyl collecting in Wichita Falls: While music lovers nationwide have enjoyed the advancements in listening technology — like iPods and iPhones being able to store thousands of songs in the palm of your hand, to streaming services such as Pandora and Spotify, making virtually every song ever recorded (except Taylor Swift’s) available to you with a simple click or swipe — there are still quite a few Americans who prefer the nostalgic feel and sound of vinyl records.

Vortex Records to close: Sad news in the record retail department: Vortex Records is closing after almost 40 years. Owned by Bert Myers, the Yonge Street shop specialized in new and used vinyl, CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays…Crate-diggers and collectors take note: vinyl and CDs are 45 per cent off till December 19, and 50 per cent off between December 20 to 23.

New Vinyl Shop Container Records Opens In Controversial Pop Brixton: Described as a “community campus for local business”, South London’s new shipping container village Pop Brixton has split local opinion with many angered by its business-focus and steep rents. In its favour though, is the newly opened, and aptly named, Container Records. Container joins Pure Vinyl, which started trading in Reliance Arcade earlier this year, as well as local mainstays Supertone Records, Selectors Music Emporium and Music Temple.

Jobs face axe as Blackburn town centre record store set to close doors: Eight employees will lose their jobs after a Blackburn record store announced it was closing. Head Records, in The Mall, will be closing down in the New Year after only 15 months of trading.

In the Mix: ‘Soul’ searching for rare Hawaii tunes: Just 10 years ago, it was common to find the island’s top talent continuing to haul crates upon crates of vinyl to gigs. CD-playing “turntables” called CDJs were growing in popularity, but some DJs found the technology didn’t afford them the same level of creativity as vinyl when manipulating music on the fly.

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TVD Live Shots:
The Arcs at the 9:30
Club, 12/14

Monday night marked night one of The Arcs two night stay at Washington, DC’s premier venue, the 9:30 Club.

When Dan Auerbach decides to form a side project, he really goes all in. The Arcs are not only a sophisticated blues infused outfit, they are a band that boasts a fresh and creative approach to their songwriting and sound. Their live set up includes Auerbach on guitar and vocal duties, Nick Movshon on bass guitar, dueling drummers, keyboards—and an all female Mariachi band, Mariachi Flor de Toloache.

The Arcs’ sound really digs down and scratches that itch for anyone craving progressive, well-rounded blues. The guitars are tone driven, the songs are well structured, and the choruses linger—just what you would expect from top-notch musicians. Their vibe is as sophisticated as it is fun.

Touring to support their September 2015 release Yours, Dreamily, The Arcs will wrap up their tour in Nashville on December 20th.

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TVD Live: The Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Christmas Show at the Birchmere, 12/14

Like a gauzy, deadpan version of an old holiday TV special, the Aimee Mann & Ted Leo Christmas show that landed at the Birchmere in Alexandria Monday had all the traditional elements: well-worn songs, corny patter, seasonal costumes, and guest stars.

And in addition to original songs about the Yuletide, they wrestled old hits into holiday form, even if it relied on more corny humor.

Mann has been doing this kind of thing for several years, since she released her own decent, though dour, holiday release One More Drifter in the Snow in 2006. But since joining up with Leo for their thoroughly agreeable side project The Both, they’ve done it twice. And by now, they know how to play off one another in planned skits and amusing offhand remarks, just as well as their vocals and musical sensibilities match.

They’d be a good couple to host a weekly, new century Sonny and Cher show if anybody was so inclined. Bill Murray’s terrific Netflix Christmas special may have reminded viewers or introduced others to the core variety show pleasures of music and humor, mixed with a modern-day knowingness. Mann, a veteran guest star on Portlandia, even produced her own funny reel of her trying to attract celebrities to her L.A. holiday show that’s pretty good.

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TVD Recommends: Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s Birthday Bash at the Maple Leaf Bar, 12/19

Saturday night, the Maple Leaf Bar will be filled with musical stars and fans as the legendary guitarist and vocalist Walter “Wolfman” Washington turns 72. Expect numerous special guests including bassist George Porter Jr., guitarist Leo Nocentelli, saxophonist Roger Lewis (Dirty Dozen Brass Band), and keyboardist and Washington’s longtime musical partner Joe Krown, in addition to his ace band, the Roadmasters.

Music writers including myself bandy around the term “legendary” far too often. But in the case of Walter “Wolfman” Washington, nothing could be further from the truth. Washington’s career began when he was a youngster backing some of the biggest names to emerge from New Orleans during the 1950s R&B heyday. Particularly significant is his long tenure leading the band of the great vocalist Johnny Adams.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Adams played at numerous back ‘o’ town clubs including Dorothy’s Medallion, a storied venue where sets didn’t start until after midnight and lasted until after dawn.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

It’s the last Thursday before the Thursday before the holidays (which in the grand scheme of things means nothing, but come on guys—CHRISTMAS!), and ABoF are crawling towards the end of year finish line with pockets jam packed full of new music.

There’s a bit of an energy lull in this week’s podcast as Claire, Paul, and Ed are wrapping up one of their busiest years in their respective careers and, almost literally, are starting to run out of words.

However, they do manage to find some things to say (locked in the depths of their exhausted vocabularies) about Team Swift’s obsession with trademarking everything Taylor has ever said, thought or done, and the news that Pearl Jam are heading out in the new year to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their seminal album Ten.

They also resurrect Pass The Cheese, World Of Weird, and Label Love for the last time in 2015, so unglue your ears and get listening.

Check out the full track listing for this week’s show below:

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TVD’s The Best of 2015: New Releases, Part One

‘Tis the season to peruse a bevy of numbered rundowns as websites undergo deserved holiday breaks. As it was with previous TVD Best of lists, the releases below aren’t an all-encompassing pronouncement from an overstuffed armchair on high; instead they are merely a hierarchy of loosely paired favorites assembled and presented with cheer as the calendar swiftly runs out of days.

10. Barrence Whitfield and the Savages, Under the Savage Sky | As long as Barrence and crew keep throwing down hearty slabs of stomping post-Sonics garage R&B mania like this one and ‘13’s Dig Thy Savage Soul, I’ll keep putting them on my Year end Best lists. Having bupkis to do with originality, this stuff is totally wrapped up in inspiration and proper execution, particularly with concern for volume and distortion.

Therefore some will balk at its gnarled guitar, wailing sax, pounding rhythm, and raw throat usurping the inclusion of a more innovative or contemporary release. But on the other hand, the fact that Barrence’s last two records are his strongest is its own kind of startling reality. It all wraps up with a swell piece of songwriting in “Full Moon in the Daylight Sky,” lending further testimony that Under the Savage Sky is the latest in a far from ordinary creative rekindling.

9. Beauty Pill, Describes Things as They Are | Another comeback, though the circumstances here are quite different, relating to the health issues of group leader Chad Clark. Concisely depicted as experimentally inclined pop, this LP is a significant progression from Beauty Pill’s prior output for Dischord (Butterscotch is the new label); in large part through the sound of Clark’s voice, affinities do remain.

Describes Things as They Are is a multifaceted art-pop grower illuminating Clark’s control of studio-as-instrument alongside his good taste in cover material, specifically Arto Lindsay’s “The Prize” and Lungfish’s “Ann the Word.” But the original writing stacks up very nicely as the organic elements are well-balanced with the synthetic techniques throughout.

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