Monthly Archives: January 2016

TODAY! The DC Record Fair returns to Penn Social, 1/31!

Back for its 7th year is Washington, DC’s twice yearly record rummage, The DC Record Fair which sets up shop on January 31, 2016 in the cavernous confines of downtown DC’s Penn Social.

As with each event, we’ll have 40+ vinyl vendors from up and down the East Coast, the DJ line up, the bar, the food, Zeke’s Coffee back with their bold brew, raffle items up for grabs just for coming through the door, plus the random other surprises that make the DC Record Fair a special community event.

11:00 – 12:00: DJ Lickashot
12:00 – 1:00: Kosmo Vinyl (9:30 Club)
1:00 – 2:00: Greg Caz (NYC)
2:00 – 3:00: DJ Tommy B
3:00 – 4:00: Adrian Loving (Axel F DC)
4:00 – 5:00: DJ Jahsonic

Our friends at the Fillmore Silver Spring put together this piece a while back that outshines any descriptive copy we could devise:

Mark your calendars! 

Sunday, January 31, 2016 at Penn Social, 801 E Street, NW
11:00–12:00, Early Bird Admission $5.00
12:00–5:00, Regular Admission $2.00
RSVP at the Facebook invite!

Did we mention we’ve got prizes for just coming through the door?

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

It’s actually been pretty mellow week. We all caught a cold, watched football, ate Mexican food, and I of course listened to records. It really hasn’t been all too bad. I guess the biggest thing that happened is I finally started listening to an assortment of bands—as opposed to my recent steady diet of classic ’60s and ’70s Bowie.

It caught my eye that gospel singer Otis Clay had passed earlier in the month. The news had me digging back through stacks of rocking blues and old northern soul 45s. Thanks to the internet—All Music and Wiki—listening and rediscovering old records is a fun and relaxing pastime that never fails to warm my soul.

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NAMM-in’ it up, 2016

It was that time again: time to dust off the leather jacket and the ear plugs to make the pilgrimage to gear Valhalla—NAMM, the annual cacophonous convention celebrating and showcasing the music industry’s latest wares—everything from your standard rock accoutrements of electric guitars, basses, drums, amps, cables, and mics… to the wild and weird, including bouzoukis, accordions, and synthesizers surrounded by succulents.

By synthesizers surrounded by succulents, I really just mean the Moog booth. The Bob Moog Foundation had a killer selection of vintage modular synths and rare prototypes on display, including an original 1967 RA Moog modular and an Aries modular synthesizer.

It was basically like the hippest Echo Park succulent AND synthesizer aficionado invited you into their apartment to scope their rare gear collection among desert decor.

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Suntrodden, The TVD First Date and Premiere, “Suntrodden I” EP

“I don’t remember a moment in my life that wasn’t soundtracked. Whether I was taking piano lessons at Suzuki, exploring my parent’s record collection filled with obscure Canadian folk music, or pillaging my brother’s far-ranging tastes for psychedelia and avant-garde jazz, I was creating an appreciation for ‘the song’ that would turn into a lifelong love affair.”

“I’ve always been the type of music consumer to chase new discoveries down the rabbit hole. Every new artist opens doors to side projects and scenes. I absorb as much of it as I can before moving on. The internet would seemingly be the ideal medium for me, because it can feed the obsession until my ADD introduces a new muse. In the Napster days, I zealously squeezed out every megabyte of music my dial-up connection could muster. Suddenly, I had everything…and it meant nothing to me.

Music has always been a part of my self-identity, and I was tarnishing my spirit by ‘stealing’ it (not meant to alienate anyone, so it gets air quotes). I’m ritualistic in how I listen to music; I like peeling off the cellophane, smelling the sweet ink of the cover, poring over the liner notes for the producer, engineers, guest musicians, etc. I want to understand the who, what, where of how the album was created. This connection was lost when the relationship became a series of points and clicks.

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Nigel Hall plays the
Blue Nile Saturday,
1/30, before tour


Modern day soulman Nigel Hall has been getting rave reviews for his first solo album, “Ladies and Gentlemen… Nigel Hall” and with great notices comes a tour. Of course, one of the hazards of being a New Orleans musician is you might have to miss Mardi Gras. Hall plays Saturday night at the Blue Nile before hitting the road to points west.

His album, which was produced by Eric Krasno of Soulive, has been in steady rotation on WWOZ as well as in the ears of lots of people around the country. I hope they are ready for one of the most invigorating performances I have heard recently.

On consecutive Wednesdays last month, he tore up the Maple Leaf Bar following his breakout album release party at Tipitina’s on December 2. I was at the album release as well as at two of the shows at the Maple Leaf.

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Graded on a Curve:
REO Speedwagon, You can Tune a piano, but you can’t Tuna fish.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, here we go, effete and impudent music snob turns his nose up at poor REO Speedwagon, and proceeds to incinerate them with the flamethrower of his adamantine scorn. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. I LIKE REO Speedwagon, or at least their whimsically titled 1978 release You can Tune a piano, but you can’t Tuna fish. I love Gary Richrath’s guitar, I love Neal Doughty’s keyboards, I almost (but not quite) even like Kevin Cronin’s vocals. Sure, they’re metal lite and as often as not too sappy for words, but when they’re on—well, let’s just say I crank them up on my radio and sing along. At the top of my voice.

Formed at the University of Illinois (home of ROCK) in that great state in the latter sixties, the band stole their name from a mid-century commercial delivery truck and went through lead singers the way Oprah goes through empty platitudes. They seemed destined to journeyman status until Tuna came out. Sure, lots of people hated them, and for valid reasons; they’re MOR at its queasiest and most vapid, but on Tuna they miraculously got it right, with a score of up-tempo raves and a few power ballads that I almost like.

The stormtrooping opening track “Roll with the Changes” has it all; superb guitar solos, one mean organ solo, excellent backing vocals, and lots of cool jamming right there in the middle. I don’t care what anybody says; Richrath plays one mean guitar, and he plays for keeps. As for the power ballad “Time for Me to Fly,” I’ve searched my brain for years for the reason I like it. The acoustic guitars? Cronin’s sensitive guy vocals? The way it kicks into gear just long enough to escape utter pussification? I just don’t know, but I know this—I like it as much as like some of Elton John’s ballads, and I like Elton John’s ballads a lot.

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In rotation: 1/29/16

DC Music Entrepreneurs: Alisha Edmonson and Joe Lapan of Songbyrd: For local music lovers, Songbyrd is a one-stop shop that stands out from its neighbors in Adams Morgan. It boasts a record cafe, restaurant, bar, a 1947 Voice-O-Graph and music venue all within its two-story space. Songbyrd’s name pays homage to the late Charlie Byrd, who reportedly came up with his jazz/bossa nova fusion album Jazz Samba at Showboat Lounge, an old venue that used to reside in the space.

Wilco in-store at Bull Moose for a rare acoustic performance and signing. Wed., January 27 at Bull Moose in Scarborough: Starting now, purchase a copy of Star Wars at any Portland Area Bull Moose (Portland, Scarborough, or Mill Creek); and receive one FREE priority wristband for the in-store. Limit of 4 per person.

When Elton John worked in a record shop: “In 1970, 71, there was a music store called Music Land on Berwick Street in London which my friend worked in, which imported records. “Every Saturday, if I wasn’t working, I’d go and work behind the counter and I loved it because I was just fascinated with what people bought and I loved being around 45s, EPs, cassettes, four-tracks, whatever, as long as it’s music,” said the Oscar and Grammy Award winning talent.

Life in vinyl as music fan lives dream surrounded by records: While the popularity of vinyl records has ebbed and flowed over the decades, one man’s passion for the medium had led to a life filled with music. Gold Coast local Ray Parsons has had a lifelong love affair with music. As a teenager in the 1960s he did not even own a record player, but loved listening to the radio. He played in bands and his first job was at a Hobart radio station; with his second week’s pay he bought his first vinyl.

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Rayland Baxter,
The TVD First Date

“I remember Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band blew me away.”

“I was 7 and my Dad’s friend gave me a Megadeath album for my birthday. I brought it home and my mother saw what I was holding…we got back in the car and went to The Great Escape (a record and comic store in Madison, Tennessee). She picked out Sgt. Pepper’s and that was it. Nothing against Megadeath at all…I do enjoy them.

Another record would be Troubadour by JJ Cale. I owned it in college and that was when I first owned a record player. I love JJ’s style…his writing, his guitar playing, his dingy basement dweller mad scientist/ laid back duuuuuude thing. I was and still am way into all of his records, however Troubadour is the top for me. The pedal steel solo in ‘Hey Baby’ is one of my favorite pedal steel solos.

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The Robert Glasper Experiment to play
Good Foot Ball at
Gasa Gasa, 1/29

Carnival gets into full swing this weekend with parades—large and small—parties, and balls. One of the newest organizations on the scene, the Krewe of King James: Super Bad Sex Machine Strollers, are opening their second annual ball to the public Friday night at Gasa Gasa.

With a unique fusion of R&B, jazz, and hip hop that brazenly traverses the boundaries of all three genres, the Robert Glasper Experiment have recorded award-winning albums for Blue Note records, including Black Radio, which won “Best R&B Album” at the 2012 Grammys, and Black Radio 2, which won “Best Traditional R&B Performance” at the 2015 Grammys.

The Robert Glasper Experiment features Glasper on keyboards, Casey Benjamin on saxophone and vocoder, Derrick Hodge on bass, and Mark Colenburg on drums.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

It’s Thursday, the East Coast has been battered by one of the worst blizzards the US has ever seen, and A Badge Of Friendship are back to keep your mind off it with their latest podcast.

This week see’s the gang chatting to Michael from NZCA Lines about his latest album Infinite Summer and the huge effect sci-fi has had on his music, and they also take a look at January’s upcoming releases with Andrew Trendell (who at this stage, is becoming the unofficial fourth host of the show due to how many times he’s appeared).

There also may be an argument about the correct preparation of potato salad—Ed reckons anything with less than potato, onions, and mayo can’t rightly be called potato salad. Other’s disagree. It’s a pickle.

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

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The TVD Record Store Club for 1/29/16

Welcome to the TVD Record Store Club for the week ending 1/29/16.

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.

For your weekend we’ve got the classic, retro stylings of Simo in stores, and a whole lotta’ Phil. Collins, that is.

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Graded on a Curve: Françoise Hardy,
The Disques Vogue Collection

French vocalist Françoise Hardy openly disdains being described as an icon, though of course her modesty plays a large role in why she continues to be revered by so many. Naturally, the most important component in her enduring reputation is the music; a superb singer and true artist from within the oft-unrelenting 1960s pop machine, her records have aged exceptionally well, retaining the allure of their era as they lack period gaffes. Hardy’s first five French language albums, all originally issued by Disques Vogue from ’62-’66, comprise a highly worthy run of productivity; they’re available now on LP and CD singly or as a bundle through Light in the Attic.

Françoise Hardy is a cornerstone of the ’60s Euro-pop phenomenon known as yé-yé. Akin to rock, girl groups, svelte male crooners, and the majority of the era’s teen-oriented sounds in general, yé-yé was widely considered to be of an ephemeral nature, and by extension was basically dominated by the collusion of producers and labels. The singers, amongst them France Gall, Sylvie Vartan, Clothilde, and Chantal Kelly, were the crucial ingredient in a very calculated recipe.

Hardy differed from the norm by writing a significant amount of her own stuff, all but two songs on her debut in fact, and as a result she evaded the sometimes embarrassing subject matter thrust upon other yé-yé girls. Furthermore, she was regularly photographed with guitar in hand, though it’s unclear to what extent she actually played on these recordings. To borrow a phrase relating to Studio-era Hollywood, Hardy transcended the “genius of the system” method of pop manufacture, instead excelling at a subdued auteur-driven approach.

In the tradition of the original filmic auteurs, few recognized Hardy as a major talent during her emergence on the scene. She definitely sparked interest in fellow musicians however, including The Beatles, Mick Jagger, and Bob Dylan, the last so struck by her skills he dedicated the poem “Some Other Kinds of Songs” to her; it’s on the back of Another Side of Bob Dylan’s sleeve.

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In rotation: 1/28/16

Death Waltz record store Transmission to finally open: Last March, Spencer Hickman of Death Waltz Recording Co. and artist Kimberley Holladay announced a joint venture record, toy and art store Transmission would open in Margate. While they have been retailing online, the brick-and-mortar outpost had not opened its doors. Now the store for “soundtrack aficionados” is set to launch on March 5.

QRATES launches store delivery service: QRATES has launched a new service named Store Delivery that provides artists and labels with the option to distribute their records directly from the production plant to stores across the world. The crowdfunding site, that helps people raise money to press vinyl records, has given a platform to over 1,000 projects since its inception last April, and is sure to attract more users with the expansion of its service.

Norton Records sets up shop in Prospect Heights: While the East Coast was battening down the hatches for a hefty weekend storm, specialty label Norton Records was doing the opposite: opening up shop. The independent outfit, which has made its name as the definitive provider of rockabilly reissues from the Fifties, Sixties, and Seventies, unveiled its first storefront, the Norton Record Shop, in Prospect Heights on January 24 — a day after New York got pummeled by Winter Storm Jonas.

Opinion: Vinyl format carries sentiment, history: Atomic Pop Shop and Lagniappe Records were previously the only two music stores that carried a large selection of LPs in Baton Rouge. But now, the city welcomes one more vinyl record distributor. Capital City Records opens its doors Friday at 4641 Perkins Rd. The music store will sell new and used records, turntables, CDs and tapes. It boasts an inventory of nearly a thousand vinyl records and some collector items like LPs from the 1960s through the ’80s that are still sealed. The new business also trades and buys records.

My Passion: Appreciation for vinyl continues to spin decades on: Records were quite expensive to buy then so you had to collect all your pocket money and paper round money and then you’d go to Brittains in Rotherham and in the record booth you could listen before your bought – I used to love being in there on a Saturday afternoon.

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TVD Live: Grace Potter at the 9:30 Club, 1/21

REVIEW: NATHAN PAYNE | Following the release of her new album Midnight, Grace Potter fans have been a bit apprehensive of her separation from the Nocturnals. The new album is a departure from her conventional style of suggestively mischievous rock and roll. Midnight brings an electronic element to Grace Potter’s sound, featuring waves of ’80s synthesizer and nods to a more “pop” style of music. The collection is consistent with her slow, sure-footed exodus from southern-style rock, pushing the boundaries of her diverse repertoire.

As a longtime Grace Potter fan, I was relatively disappointed with Midnight. The bouncy, almost bubbly nature of the album lacked the familiar edge of what I had come to expect. Hints of her old sound still remained, but the full on grittiness of her notorious Flying-V guitar sound was lacking. That being said, I’ll be the first to admit I made the mistake of approaching the Midnight Tour with a certain amount of residual disappointment. Little did I know, I was about to embark on a rhythmic journey of light and sound that would make me thankful to still have a face that hadn’t been melted off by wildly amazing rock and roll.

After filing into a sold-out 9:30 Club, the crowd was primed. It wasn’t long before a flash of light and a blast of feedback vaulted the entire room into orbit. Energy was instant as she played “Hot to the Touch” followed by “Ah Mary.” I immediately realized I had underestimated Grace. The edge was there, it appeared in all of her music, and it was better than ever. New and old sounds had successfully merged in front of my eyes. Fresh band members and instrumental elements had evolved her music into something so much more—and by the time I had my revelation, we were all somewhere beyond the Milky Way.

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Graded on a Curve:
It’s Only a Movie

Oddballs; you’ve got to love them. Just recently I was happy to happen upon a great band in the grand tradition of English eccentrics, namely Family, who failed to make much of an impression on anybody over the course of their 7 studio LPs, and may well best be remembered as the temporary home of Ric Grech and John Wetton. A psychedelic band boasting a lead singer (Roger Chapman) whose voice bears an uncanny resemblance to that of Peter Gabriel (that is when he doesn’t sound like Steve Marriott or Ronnie Lane), Family hung in from 1966 to 1973, when they released their final LP, 1973’s excellent It’s Only a Movie.

To be honest, they sound more like an English folk band with mild progressive pretentions than a psychedelic band to this critic. Songs like the title cut are mildly freaky music hall tunes, while “Leroy” (and this is one of the reasons I love them) sounds like a great lost Faces tune. Meanwhile “Boom Bang” kinda reminds me of Steve Marriott, and I think you know what I’m getting at. It’s Only a Movie is an LP that’s all over the place, but it works magnificently.

I’m going to tell you the plain truth: Family will not blow you away. But they’re a great lost link in the English music time line, and they’re fun and funky, and you could do much, much worse. Unlike Marriott and the more overtly proggish bands of their time, they never hold you hostage with 17-minute songs full of feudal synthesizers (see Gabriel’s Genesis) or inter-song rants about this social issue or that (the Humble Pie era Steve Marriott’s great downfall). No, they keep ‘em short and sweet, and just weird enough to keep you intrigued.

Yeah, let me reiterate: Family sounds like a union of Genesis, Faces, and Humble Pie, with some eccentric theatrics tossed in to liven up matters. And while there’s nothing as good as the bellowing “Sat’d’dy Barfly” (from the band’s 1971 LP Fearless) on It’s Only a Movie, the LP has plenty to offer. Take “Buffet Tea for Two,” which incorporates some great power chords with a folksy melody, then adds lots of slightly off-kilter lounge piano and strings as it climbs and climbs to a marvelous crescendo. The guitar towards the end is pretty cool too.

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