Monthly Archives: February 2016

TVD Live: Wavves, Best Coast, Cherry Glazerr at Thalia Hall, 2/25

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER | After a snowy week in Chicago, the “Summer is Forever II” tour came through town for two sold out nights at Thalia Hall. Three Californian bands, Wavves, Best Coast, and Cherry Glazerr took the stage to remind us of rays of sunshine and the hot days ahead.

Cherry Glazerr started off the night with our first taste of summer. Clementine Creevy’s sugary sweet vocals about snack foods and friendship were given an edge with heavy strumming guitar. Creevy’s small frame created a large presence as she moved about the stage, even coming to the edge to sing to fans. Much of the audience was impressed and unable to help themselves from head-bobbing and dancing. At the end of the night many concertgoers walked away clutching a copy of their latest album, Haxel Princess on pink vinyl.

Best Coast brought summer night vibes with their set consisting of a pleasant mix of new and old. Frontwoman, Bethany Cosentino’s fierce stance was silhouetted making her a powerful force as the band played favorites such as “Do You Love Me Like You Used To?” and “Crazy For You.” Cosentino alternated between guitar and a star-shaped tambourine using those moments to let loose and dance to their appealing poppy rock songs.

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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.

Let’s talk about this concept of maintenance. You buy a house, but you’ve got to replace the roof. You drive off the lot in your hot new Jaguar, but one day you’ll need some new tires. All of the things we struggle and strive for in life require some sort of maintenance. It’s not always the fun stuff to spend money on, but it is necessary if we are to keep our prized possessions in tip-top running shape.

Here is a program about music in New Jersey and it’s coming up on the 70th episode. At this point, we need some air in our tires, perhaps an oil change, and a fresh coat of paint—we need some maintenance.

Of course, this week, we aren’t totally cruel, we’re also playing some great tracks: The Rascals, The Smithereens, Tony Bennett, and more. So, help us out. Please take a moment to visit WFDU and offer up a few bucks to keep this unique, independent program on the air for another year.

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The TVD First Date

“My earliest memories of vinyl was dancing (terribly) and wildly to Whitney Houston in my parent’s living room when I was four years old. It was a visceral experience for me, I was often drawn to touch (and break) the needle and feel the record spin. I remember the feeling of carpet beneath my bare feet, I remember stopping only to catch my breath or when my mom told me to turn it off. Those very early interactions with music hugely inform my life as a musician and songwriter today.”

“My parents raised me on pop music, and I’ve been drawn to that pop sensibility ever since. To me, pop music began with album covers, I would leaf through my parents collection and stop at an image that caught my eye. Vinyl was about that whole journey of discovery: the artwork that drew me in, the weight of it, the soft hissing noise it would emit when I put it on.

The album covers I remember most vividly were Scandal, Wham, Duran Duran, Pat Benatar, and Michael Jackson. I remember these covers so vividly, they’ve become apart of the memory. I felt closer to the artists because I could hold them in my hands—there’s really nothing like that feeling.

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Graded on a Curve:
Van der Graaf Generator, The least we can do is wave to each other

I’ve spent the entire day toting up the odds. Of yours truly, music’s Prog-Hater-in-Chief, actually happening upon a progressive rock LP I truly like. Sure, there are one or two Genesis LPs I can tolerate, but truly like? Nah. Which is what makes Van der Graaf Generator’s 1970 sophomore LP, The least we can do is wave to each other, so remarkable. Mikey likes it.

There are several reasons for this unprecedented occurrence. The first are the frenetic horns of David Jackson, who was known to pull the occasional Rahsaan Roland Kirk and play alto and tenor saxophone simultaneously. More importantly, they weren’t averse to producing a clamorous din. While most of their prog compatriots were beholden to the staid and stately classical tradition, where every note has its place, Van der Graaf Generator went in the direction of free jazz squeal and skronk, producing a noise that most likely would have caused Emerson, Lake and Palmer to thrust their fingers into their ears and squeal girlishly, “Make it stop!”

Finally, they don’t go in for the forty tempo changes per minute that make prog so unlistenable to me. Their songs progress with minimal muss and fuss, and for the most part the band doesn’t attempt to show off its technical prowess by writing songs so intricately complex that Bach would have said, “Cheese it boys. Simpler is better.” I will concede that Peter Hammill’s histrionic vocals are an acquired taste, but for the most part the prog pomp and circumstance stops there.

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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.

Joshua Bley – Revelations
Eric Taylor Escudero – Black River
POHGOH – Try Harder
RISLEY – Kill The Clock
Nate Leavitt – Take Me Back
Crown Plaza – Staring At The Wall
Night Lights – Take My Hand
Haliia – With You Forever

The Record Summer – Prizefight

Finding Hope – Time (feat. Ericca Longbrake)
Lara Maxen – Man Up (Prod. Mickey Valen)
Jackson Whalan & Jules Jenssen – Home Again
Poi Dog Pondering – All Saints Ascension
Psymbionic – Retroactive
Joachim Garraud & A Girl and a Gun – The Witch is Dead
Wacky Voz – Comrade & banginclude
Autoerotique – Ratchet

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In rotation: 2/29/16

In Athens, Wuxtry Records celebrates 40 years of vinyl: One of the oldest record stores in the South is celebrating its four decades in the music business. Wuxtry Records opened in a space on Foundry Street in Athens on March 1, 1976, then moved to a downtown corner three months later and expanded over the years, The Athens Banner-Herald reported. Owner Dan Wall calls that space “the best corner in the best college town in America.”

Brunswick’s Vinylhaven celebrates the past, present and future of vinyl: The great engine of the U.S. economy is consumer spending – the money we all shell out on everything from cars to carrots. Much of that money is spent in malls and big box stores, and of course a growing amount is spent online. But in Maine, a lot of people still like to shop in small stores in small towns. Stores that sometimes have more character than you’ll find in all the malls put together. Vinylhaven in Brunswick is just such a shop.

‘Holy Grail’ Beatles record to be auctioned: An extremely rare and valuable Beatles record that was found languishing in a loft is to be auctioned next month. Described as “a Holy Grail item”, the 1962 10-inch record of Till There Was You and Hello Little Girl lay forgotten in the home of Les Maguire for decades. Maguire, the keyboardist in fellow Liverpool act Gerry and the Pacemakers, said it could be seen as the record “that sparked The Beatles’ success”. The acetate bears the handwriting of the Fab Four’s manager Brian Epstein.

Record shop to open in Port Huron: Two local couples are opening what they refer to as a one-stop “Hipster Heaven” in downtown Port Huron…“In the record department we will be carrying new stock as well as used,” said David Whitt, co-owner, in an email. “We will and are trying to include every possible genre with our records. We will also be carrying cassettes and any format of local music that we can help distribute.”

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Shadrach, meshack, abednego / Life can be confusing, any given day / And if you feel like losin’, get on out the way / This stuff will be amazing, here is all you do / How minutes turn to days in, doing what I do…

“Shadrach, meshack, abednego.” I have absolutely no idea what Sly Stone meant by those words. Growing up roaming through Central Park in the ’70s though I did know one thing—Sly Stone was the coolest and most stoned brotha in town. “Boom lacka lacka boom”! Cut to…

I was driving past the Zappa house the other day and I saw young Diva talking to a friend outside. It’s been a couple of months since we lost Gail Zappa. It was around Thanksgiving and with all that was going on I missed the opportunity to pay my respects.

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TVD Live: Josh Ritter and Elephant Revival
at the 9:30 Club, 2/23

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | You could tell Josh Ritter was happy to be playing the 9:30 Club Wednesday night. He said so, for one thing. It was the second in a two night stand in a place where he recorded one of his live albums, in an engagement that had already sold out the first night. He had a big, goofy smile on most of the night. And, wearing his paint spattered jumpsuit, he jumped a bit as well.

He had come out of a particularly glum period of his life a couple of years back, a divorce documented on his album The Beast in its Tracks. But he’s put that rather forcibly behind him with his eighth album that came out last fall, Sermon on the Rocks, a spirited (though mostly secular) thing that he describes as “messianic oracular honky-tonk.”

Well something like that. The contrast between his hushed acoustic musings, filled with that kind of wordplay, and bigger, broader full band things is what his show was all about.

Lucky his Royal City Band is adept enough to adapt to the changes, coming in tastefully during his hushed acoustic opening song about his native state, “Idaho,” and crashing into the dynamics of the newer “Birds of the Meadow” that followed.

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Nolatet releases Dogs today, plays album release party, 2/28

The term supergroup is bandied around way too often, I’m guilty as charged, but Nolatet fits the bill in more ways than one. The band features New Orleans stalwarts Johnny Vidacovich on drums and James Singleton on bass as well as Brian Haas on piano and Mike Dillon on vibraphone and percussion. Their debut recording is out today on Royal Potato Family and they play Snug Harbor on Sunday before embarking on a national tour.

Though the band is new, the four musicians have collaborated on various projects throughout the years. For New Orleans readers, Haas may be the wild card. He is the longtime leader of the Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey and a musician as iconoclastic as his collaborators. He is also no stranger to New Orleans having played countless gigs including rare solo appearances at Snug Harbor.

Dogs was recorded at Esplanade Studios, a relatively new room in town that has become the go-to facility for improvising musicians. For this album, the spirit of creative expression was the guiding force. It was recorded over just a single day and all the songs were either the first or second take with no overdubs.

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Graded on a Curve:
War, Best of

Has there ever been a band as balls-out funky, that actually got played on the radio, as War? The horns, the inimitable percussion, the great group vocals—War had it all, to say nothing of some of the chillest songs of the rock era. Every time I hear them I think of the opening of the great “Summer”: “Riding ‘round town with all the windows down/8-track playin’ all your favorite sounds/The rhythm of the bongos fill the park/The street musicians trying to get a start.” I don’t know about you, but in my imagination it’s War I’m listening to on that 8-track, and if the 8-track player eats it there’s going to be hell to pay.

The L.A. band had something for everybody: soul, funk, R&B, jazz, reggae, and last but far from least, the Latino sound of the Mexican-American barrios of East L.A. From their start with Eric “Spill the Wine” Burdon to their later mostly upbeat takes on the life in the barrio, War was the dopest commodity around. Their songs spoke not only to their community but to everybody, as is demonstrated by the fact that if you don’t like “Low Rider” or “The Cisco Kid,” you are an ignoramus.

When it comes to packaging, Best Of is a less-is-better proposition, and I like it that way. No losers, you know? “Spill the Wine,” “Cisco Kid,” “Low Rider,” “The World Is a Ghetto,” and even the smooth grooves of “All Day Music” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” are all irresistible, as is every other tune on this compilation, with the exception of “Gypsy Man,” which I can’t listen to without seeing flashing disco balls.

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In rotation: 2/26/16

Grimey’s Records Saved From Sale: A popular Nashville record store was not forced relocate after it became public last week that the building which houses Grimey’s New and Preloved Music is up for sale. Grimey’s is located at 1604 8th Avenue South inside of a nearly century old building. The owner is trying to sell the record store’s home for more than $3 million, but the sale comes with a stipulation, any current tenants, including Grimey’s must stay. “It’s a big relief to me that we’re not facing an eminent need to move the business,” Grimey’s co-owner Doyle Davis said on Thursday.

The definitive guide to Amsterdam’s Best Record Shops: Far too often, the real Amsterdam gets overshadowed by its seedy reputation. In recent years the government has tried to reclaim the Red Light District, also the oldest part of town, by encouraging local businesses to enter the area. Run out of former prostitution windows, Red Light Radio and Vintage Voodoo are two relatively new record shops helping to inject culture into the strip.

Second Earth: Exciting plans to bring record shop back to Aylesbury: Remember record shops? Isn’t that a sad thing to say. Remember Earth Records? Well, a pioneering duo have set up a campaign to bring a dedicated record store back to Aylesbury, but to do it they will need your help. Second Earth Records is a project set up by Dan Gregory and Colin Steele. It will launch as a Market Square stall on March 26, but the pair hope that supporters might be able to help them get a permanent home.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway:
A 30th Century Records Vinyl Bundle

Record labels often get a bad rap when it comes to artist relations and development—but when the label head is a respected artist and musician himself, fine work flourishes. Such is the case with 30th Century Records, helmed by Brian Burton, who you know as the multi-talented Danger Mouse.

To introduce new ears to the his new efforts, we have the label sampler 30th Century Records, Volume 1, including The Arcs (The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach’s side band), Autolux, Sam Cohen, and more—and Autolux’s 7″ “Change My Head” / “Soft Scene” vinyl bundle to mail out to 2 winners. 

“In partnership with Columbia Records, world-renowned artist, songwriter, and producer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) launched 30th Century Records, releasing Compilation Volume 1 in December 2015. The eleven-track collection is a psychedelic mosaic with international scope, one that touches both future and classic sounds from the sun-drenched shores of Brazil to the murky depths of Glasgow.

It features Dan Auerbach’s blistering riffage in The Arcs and Autolux’s arty experimentalism. There’s Sam Cohen’s rough-hewn authenticity and emotive rockers from newcomers like Nine Pound Shadow and Waterstrider to be enjoyed. Compiled by Danger Mouse himself, this album finds guitar music alive and well from the garage to the depths of space.”

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TVD Live: The James Hunter Six and Jesse Dee at the Hamilton, 2/23

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | The only trouble with a stone traditionalist is that you can’t expect much variation of the form album to album. But that’s not a bad thing with James Hunter, who has been dishing out a sharp, tasty neo-soul sound since his first. And now that he’s on Daptone records, he’s found just the right spot for his specific sensibility rather than changing for it.

In his second appearance at the Hamilton night club in DC Tuesday, he and the James Hunter Six may have been 1/3 sick (both Hunter and his keyboardist Kyle Koehler were said to be hit with road colds) but still served up the great sounds with the new material of his new Hold On! fitting in well with the classics fans were glad to hear.

The rasp in Hunter’s voice actually added some grit to his R&B delivery and while his keening high wails weren’t as smooth as they can be, they conveyed a gravelly pain that often served the songs just as well. (As for any cold effect on Koehler, it was negligible; he churned up some fine organ solos nonetheless and kept pace on the rest of the set).

It’s a super tight band, with the baritone sax of Lee Badau and tenor of Damian Hand making for a fine horn section that navigates some songs’ complicated charts or can break apart for individual solos.

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TVD Live Shots: St. Lucia at the 9:30 Club, 2/20

Last Saturday night St. Lucia took to the stage at Washington, DC’s premier venue, the 9:30 Club in full modern indie pop form for a heavily anticipated show to a sold-out crowd.

Jean-Philip Grobler, the South African native and now Brooklyn based singer/musician, better known by his stage name St. Lucia, brought his genuine and invigorating brand of indie synth-pop to a DC audience with a heartfelt and energetic performance. His deeply layered and percussive based sounds are perfectly crafted and mixed with solid vocal hooks. On stage St. Lucia’s songs come to life, exhibiting his passion for his music with an almost soulful delivery complete with punctuated highs and lows.

St. Lucia is touring to support his new album, Matter which was released in late January of 2016 on Columbia Records. The evening’s setlist included: “Rescue Me,” “Closer Than This,” “Dancing on Glass,” “Love Somebody,” “Physical,” “Too Close,” and “Elevate.”

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The Bluerunners and the Mike Dillon Band to play Chickie Wah Wah, 2/26

(Editor’s note: the Mike Dillon Band will not be playing Friday night. The James Singleton/Doug Belote/Brian Haas Trio will appear at 10:30 PM)

On Friday night, the fine listening establishment on Canal Street will feature two separate shows of eclectic music. The Bluerunners will appear at 8:30 PM and the Mike Dillon Band will follow at 10:30.

The Bluerunners burst onto the national scene from Lafayette, Louisiana in 1991 propelled by a seamless blend of frenetic cow-punk originals and traditional Cajun music. Their eponymous major label debut earned the group rave reviews in rock circles and an important niche in the rich musical history of Louisiana.

Mark Meaux, the band’s longtime leader, is one of the best songwriters to emerge from Southwest Louisiana. He plays guitars (lead and rhythm), while the agile accordion work of Ade Huval underscores the band’s Cajun identity. Longtime bassist Cal Stevenson and drummer Frank Kincel provide the “impeccable pocket.” Newcomer Jason Harrington plays harmonica, mandolin, and fiddle.

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