Monthly Archives: June 2017

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Cottage Grove!

Today I woke up at Sweet Springs Family Farm in central Oregon. When I first arrived Wednesday I entered the property as I would a home in the canyon—walking in through the facade and observing my AirBNB accommodations much like a hotel room. It wasn’t until the next morning, after a very strong pot of coffee, did I begin to explore my surroundings.

This isn’t my first time on a farm. Around 15 or so years ago I lived with a real deal farmer from Kansas. She convinced me to visit her family for a few days—I think she had to beg them not to put me to work in the fields. I was game and they would have me, except I couldn’t drive a tractor. (On a real farm everyone works at least six days a week.)

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TVD Live: Lindsey Buckingham / Christine McVie, The Wallflowers at Wolf Trap, 6/26

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Of the many incarnations of Fleetwood Mac since 1967, the most popular by far is the California version ushered in by the addition of Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks. Probably because they sold 40 million copies of their self-titled album in 1975, and because people loved Stevie. It was Buckingham, though, who brought a new songwriting touch and production texture. By the time those two joined, Christine McVie had been in the band five years and was already a growing presence with her own distinctive pop turns.

Since both Buckingham and McVie were such forces for new music for Fleetwood Mac all these years later, you’d think they’d just save any new song ideas for perhaps a group album to accompany a supposed Mac farewell tour next year (certainly no new recordings were released in conjunction with their last 2014 tour). But the two released their Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie album this month under their own names and are backing it with a tour that made its fourth stop Monday before a very forgiving audience at Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA.

The two—Buckingham, 67, looking very much the same as always; and McVie, elegant and super slim at 73—entered the stage hand in hand, as if they were nearing a cliff edge from which they’d jump. And things started shakily enough, with Buckingham relying on his fussily played acoustic on much slower renditions of familiar songs, from the opening ‘Trouble” to his fingerpicking showcase “Never Going Back Again.” McVie for her part there did “Wish You Were Here” from the 1982 Fleetwood Mac LP Mirage. Both had a little trouble finding the right key to start songs and were never as smooth vocally as they had been on record.

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TVD Radar: Moloch self-titled debut in stores on 180-gram vinyl, 7/21

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Stax Records, an imprint of Concord Music Group and its Catalog Division, Craft Recordings, is pleased to announce the reissue of Moloch on 180-gram vinyl. Cut at Memphis’ Ardent Studios on the original Stax lathe, and pressed at Memphis Record Pressing, this release marks the first official domestic reissue of the 1969 title on 180-gram vinyl, and the first digital availability of this rare hard blues gem. New liner notes by award-winning writer Bob Mehr round out the package.

Comprised of guitarist Lee Baker, drummer Phillip Durham, bassist Steve Spear, organist Fred Nicholson and vocalist Gene Wilkins, Moloch was a lynchpin of the Memphis psychedelic scene of the late ’60s. Their one and only album was produced by Don Nix (the Mar-Keys, Leon Russell), who also wrote most of the songs on it. Wilkins and Baker are the stars of the effort, however, with the latter giving a pointed schooling in the essentials of blues-rock guitar on tracks such as the original recorded version of the standard “Going Down,” which would go on to be covered by a who’s who of Blues and Rock legends, including Jeff Beck, Deep Purple, JJ Cale, Bryan Ferry, Pearl Jam, Gov’t Mule, Stevie Ray Vaughan, the Who, and Led Zeppelin, among many others.

Moloch’s self-titled album is an outlier in the Stax catalog with its combination of rock, hard blues, psychedelic acid-washed guitar solos, and blue-eyed soul. But despite the band members’ abbreviated time together, Moloch remain influential in the Blues world, and, even more so in Memphis lore. In his liner notes, Bob Mehr writes, “the legacy of the band is bigger than a single song.

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TVD Premiere: Nyce!, “Where Do I Go From Here”

We’re pleased to debut “Where Do I Go From Here,” a new song off Quarter Life Crisis, the latest release from Nyce! in anticipation of the big release party tonight (6/30), which is scheduled as part of the Smile Series at 2309 General Pershing Street in New Orleans. The Facebook invite is here.

Nyce! began playing as a duo on the streets of the French Quarter. The eclectic pop band, which is now a four-piece, recently completed a successful tour of the northeast and is excited to present the new music to a hometown crowd. The show starts at 7 PM and features supporting acts Kathryn Rose Wood, Jazmarae, and Renshaw Davies.

Quarter Life Crisis is the second release from the band, which features vocalist and violinist Danielle Ryce and vocalist and bassist Nic Lefebvre.“Where Do I Go From Here” delivers with a great guitar intro and Ryce’s compelling vocals. Lefebvre’s upright bass anchors the sound.

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The TVD First Date

“I can still see the symmetry. Two four-foot mahogany wood encased speakers surrounding the three layer mountain of record player, receiver, and speaker box with lighted buttons, knobs, slides, and gadgets. That chaotic tangle of speaker wire behind, and my eyes fixated on the lights and movement.”

“I wasn’t allowed to touch anything in that vicinity when my parents were around, but I marveled and reaped the benefit of their absence upon occasion, trying my hand at creating sound from it with no avail. Little did I know of the subtle tricks to make it work. The volume slider had to be in a very specific location to play, which coincidentally was the perfect level to listen to most any record. The receiver had to be hit just in the right spot, not too hard and not to softly to get itself in gear. It had all the quirks of a great system from the ’70s, still ambling it’s way while we were listening in the ’80s and early ’90s.

There are two songs that stick out to me when I think of those early days in my life. “Sussudio” by Phil Collins off his No Jacket Required record. I heard his voice more often than any other in my childhood, through his time with Genesis and into his solo project. I know more of his lyrics than I do Michael Jackson’s, and I was a die-hard MJ fan until the late ’90s. That probably has to do with Phil’s songs being engraved in my brain from the records spinning in our house before I turned eight in 1992 when I got the highly coveted CD player. When I was in college, I had the No Jacket Required jacket on my wall, though I was caught up in the digital phase and wasn’t listening to vinyl. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still love Phil Collins, when Genesis or one of his solo tunes pops up, I can’t help but sing along.

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Graded on a Curve:
Amon Düül II,

You’ll have to look hard to find a rock band with a back-story as cool as that of Amon Düül II. The progressive Krautrockers emerged in 1968 from the same anarchic West German commune that spawned some of the future founders of the armed and radical Red Army Faction. It was almost as if you had but two choices—play music or join the violent revolution against the reactionary forces of the West German government.

All of the commune’s members, regardless of ability, played music to help keep the commune afloat. Offered a chance to record, the more musical members balked at the prospect of recording with the amateurs and the commune split. (Just plain Amon Düül—which was comprised of the commune’s less competent musicians—were first into the studio, but the recordings were deemed sub par and weren’t released until later in order to capitalize on the popularity of Amon Düül II.) In 1969 Amon Düül II produced Phallus Dei, which is often said to be the first Krautrock LP. Fast learners, the following year they produced a bona fide Meisterwerk in the form of the double LP Yeti.

Yeti has a little something for everybody—sides one and two contain such arranged compositions as “Archangels Thunderbird” and “Eye-Shaking King,” while sides three and four feature longer improvisatory cuts, such as the sprawling title track and the very spacy “Sandoz in the Rain.” The latter in particular is a showstopper. Those dazzling bongos! And that far-freaking-out flute! And those oh so trippy vocals, wowie zowie! In order to properly hear this one you’ll want to stock up on powerful hallucinogens NOW!

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In rotation: 6/30/17

Sony Music goes back to vinyl records: Sony Music, one of the big three global record companies, says it will start pressing its own vinyl releases again for the first time since 1989. The firm will resume in-house domestic vinyl production at a Japanese factory south-west of Tokyo by March 2018. The move comes amid renewed demand for old-fashioned black plastic records, which now occupy a key market niche. At one time, the format had been expected to disappear after the rise of CDs, digital downloads and streaming. During vinyl’s long decline from the late 1980s onwards, many vinyl record factories closed down, with production confined to a few specialist independent firms. But this year, global vinyl revenue is expected to hit $1bn (£770m), with many consumers swearing by its supposedly superior sound quality.

Rooky Becomes a Veteran, A steak joint, record shop, and psychology club all received legacy business status this month. Three longtime San Francisco businesses received legacy status from the Historic Preservation Committee last week, potentially preserving their futures in a city undergoing rampant change…Rooky Ricardo’s Records, which opened on the 400 block of Haight Street in 1987, was one of the recent recipients. The vintage record store specializes in soul, funk, jazz, and rock tunes from the 1950s and ’60s, and it experienced a setback last year, when owner Dick Vivian’s original storefront at 448 Haight St. underwent an earthquake retrofit. He moved to a small shop across the street at 419 Haight St., with the belief that he’d be able to move back once the construction was completed. A steep rent hike, however, made that move impossible, so he’s settled into his shop’s new home for good.

Second-hand bookshop in Brimscombe starts selling vinyl records following thousands of donations: Donations of around ten thousand LPs and singles dating back as far as the early 1950s have been given to The Cotswold Canals Trust Bookshop. The shop at Brimscombe Port Business Park raises funds for the restoration of the local canals by selling second-hand books on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Once the canal restoration reaches Brimscombe the site will become a working port and marina again. Volunteers at the bookshop are currently sorting through thousands of donated books and records and with music on vinyl currently undergoing a revival and prices starting at a pound, collectors have been picking up both low-price bargains and some high-priced rarities.

Excellent vinyl collection at Area 51 Records is a real hidden gem in Braintree: Surrounded by vinyl, we walk into a small backroom and Paul Everett, owner of Area 51 Records, invites me to sit down. Area 51 is a small shop on South Street near Braintree Town Station, and an album from the Jam is playing quietly in the background. Famous album covers decorate the walls of the shop, and I recognise a few of them from my dad’s generation. Pink Floyd, the Human League, and David Bowie are on display but the most popular, he tells me, are the alternative genres at the back of the shop, with all types of house, garage and drum and bass.

Soundbites: The Best Albums of 2017 … So Far (Part 1): The midyear marker always sneaks up on me. But here we are, roughly halfway through 2017. Temperatures may be rising, but the days are getting shorter. Thanks a lot, summer solstice. You’re as cruel as you are beautiful. Given that we’re crossing the invisible line that separates early 2017 from late 2017, it seems like a good time to look back at the freshest local albums Seven Days has reviewed this year. All of the major music publications are likely doing the same thing, so why shouldn’t we?

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TVD Live Shots: Jeff Lynne’s ELO at Wembley Stadium, 6/24

Jeff Lynne’s ELO and a sold out Wembley Stadium—are you kidding me? This one had all the makings to be one of the most epic shows on the planet, and it delivered. I’ve seen hundreds of shows in my life and several stadium shows, but I can tell you that this was one for the ages. The handful of rock bands who can even attempt to play stadiums cannot hold a candle to the magic that is Jeff Lynne and his expert band of musicians.

2017 is shaping up to be an epic year for Jeff Lynne. Earlier this year ELO was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Class of 2017, and now a string of sold out stadium and arena tours of the UK. What’s in store for the rest of the year? Many fans are hoping it’s a US tour announcement.

This show was my first time in a proper stadium (capacity here is 90,000). Walking through the halls as I was heading to my seat, I got a sense of just how much history had taken place in Wembley. From Live Aid back in 1985 to just a few weeks ago with the triumphant return of The Stone Roses who also packed the venue to capacity, to the upcoming four-night run from Adele, this place has—and continues to host—some of the biggest shows on earth.

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TVD Live Shots:
Steve Miller Band
and Peter Frampton
at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 6/23

Last Friday evening, Merriweather Post Pavilion and the surrounding woodlands of Columbia, MD played host to two rock giants. Both the Steve Miller Band and Peter Frampton are co-headlining a joint US tour, and fittingly both artist’s catalogs are synonymous with summertime gatherings. Yes, powerhouse co-headlining tours seem to be a back as a summer trend and happily for Merriweather’s audience, the pairing of two of rock’s most prolific artists brought them a night of the genre’s most celebrated songs.

Kicking off the evening, Peter Frampton primed the crowd with his clean and precise guitar tones, his well written rhythms, and his signature voice box that still gets cheers from fans after all this time. Frampton played a solid set and sounded quite fantastic—his solo breaks on his signature Gibson Les Paul ringing through the hills. He even threw in a solid cover of Soundgarden’s “Black Hole Sun” as a tribute to the late Chris Cornell.

When Steve Miller took the stage, he did so quite gracefully with a rather calm walk to the microphone. Apparently Miller’s a man of very few words, short of a brief hello and introduction a few songs into his set. Getting right to it, Miller’s unassuming approach and humble stage presence contrasts with the caliber and reach his songs have attained through the years.

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TVD Radar: Interpol’s Our Love to Admire 10th anniversary edition in stores 8/18

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In the late ’90s, Interpol emerged as one of the American indie-rock scene’s most exciting and inventive new bands. The New York outfit’s artfully layered sound drew comparisons to a multitude of notable post-punk combos, but Interpol’s cutting-edge sound was wholly its own. That’s the case with 2007’s Our Love to Admire, the band’s third album as well as its first major-label release and one of the group’s biggest selling albums.

With the full participation of the band members, to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Our Love to Admire, UMe will release three special expanded-edition reissues of this beloved classic: a two-LP vinyl set, a double LP with bonus DVD, and a CD/DVD set on August 18, 2017. The LP and CD will debut a sparkling new edition of the original album, remastered for this release by Gavin Lurssen with all of its original packaging intact. Additionally, the LP editions will be available in a limited colored vinyl version exclusively through The Sound Of Vinyl, as well as standard black vinyl.

The bonus DVD captures the band’s 12-song performance at the London Astoria on July 2, 2007, marking the first time that these performances will be available in the US. The DVD includes live versions of several songs from Our Love to Admire, along with such earlier Interpol favorites as “Narc,” “Obstacle 1,” “Public Pervert,” “Evil,” and NYC.”

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Liverpool’s indie funk band, Kids on Bridges, releases latest single, “Just Because You Can”

“Just Because You Can,” is the most recent tune released by Kids on Bridges. It has a feel somewhere between the music of New Orleans’ fast rising indie rockers, MuteMath and a modern take on funk with a beat that will bring to mind Daft Punk’s work with Pharrell Williams on “Lucky.”

Though Kids on Bridges hail from a city far from New Orleans, they have intimate connections with the Crescent City. They have played with the Hot 8 Brass Band and appeared at the Howlin’ Wolf in New Orleans. Legendary Meters drummer Zigaboo Modeliste was featured on their previous single “Say OK,” and they will be recording again with local poet Chuck Perkins in the near future.

On a 2016 visit to the States, Kids on Bridges sold out the Viper Room in Los Angeles. They were also representatives of the United Kingdom at the Special Olympics and performed alongside Stevie Wonder.

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Graded on a Curve: New in Stores, June 2017

Part two of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued wax presently in stores for June, 2017. Part one for June is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Dominique Eade and Ran Blake, Town and Country (Sunnyside) Pianist Blake excels at one-on-one interaction with vocalists, e.g. his indispensable ’62 LP with Jeanne Lee. Here, he engages in dialogue with brilliant chance-taker Eade on a wide variety of songs, from standards to folk to two selections by Walter Schumann for Charles Laughton’s noir masterpiece The Night of the Hunter to Nelson Riddle’s theme to Route 66. “It’s Alright, Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” sounds like Anita O’Day flipped for Bob back in ’65 and decided to transform the song with the assistance of…Ran Blake. How cool. A

V/A, Typical Girls Volume 2 (Emotional Response) This continues the admirable international focus of the first set and with no drop off in quality. Beginning with jagged art-racket-rant by Aussies Bent and swiftly and sweetly shifting gears into the charging melodic punk of Oakland’s Midnite Snaxxx, there’s also edgy wavy stuff (Madrid’s Juanita y Los Feos, California’s Cold Beat), stomp-throttle (Cali’s Neighborhood Brats), more art-squall (Oakland’s Naked Lights), solid post-punk (Berlin’s Levitations), and more including Aussies Suss Cunts (see below) and UK vets Skinny Girl Diet. A remedy for power imbalance. A-

REISSUE PICKS: Tony Conrad, Ten Years Alive on the Infinite Plain (Superior Viaduct) Some know Conrad through his connection to The Velvet Underground, others are familiar with his work with Krautrockers Faust, and abstract film nuts might be hip to The Flicker. This 2LP/ 2CD set, consisting of one remarkable 88-minute piece featuring Conrad on violin, Rhys Chatham on the Long String Drone (a homemade instrument of wood, metal, bass strings, an electric pickup, tape and rubber bands), and Laurie Spiegel on bass, now sits at the top of this too often overlooked avant-gardist’s already potent discography. A+

Game Theory, 2 Steps from the Middle Ages (Omnivore) It’s common for the final album in a band’s reissue cycle to be one for the die-hards, but across their ’82-’90 existence Game Theory never put out a bad record. More to the point, once Scott Miller and company attained greatness the albums largely maintained that standard. Because this is a somewhat streamlined affair compared to Lolita Nation, I’ve heard some put it down, but listening to it in 2017, I have no fucking clue what those people are talking about. Listen up and get a grip; this is guitar pop for the ages. A-

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In rotation: 6/29/17

Bushwick’s Daptone Records Will Host a Stoop Sale Friday With Free Beer: Vinyl collectors, fans of soulful Daptone Records, and beer-drinkers will have a field day at this Friday’s Daptone Super Soul Stoop Sale. The record label is credited with the soul and funk revival of the last decade and a half. One of the label’s first major successes was recording the backing music to Amy Winehouse’s “Back to Black” as the Dap-Kings. You may also remember the Dap-Kings as Sharon Jones’s permanent backing band, recording seven full-length albums with her before Jones’ untimely death in November of last year.

Norton Records Shop is closing soon, looking for new tenant for the space: “With a sigh, the continuing saga of Norton Records is about to start yet another chapter, as we work toward a huge move of our headquarters in Brooklyn. Right now, the shop will have to close in order to make the move happen. Nothing is easy, that’s for darn sure! Before we close, we need to find a new tenant for the shop space. It’s a perfect location for a small shop, so if anyone out there has been dreaming about running their own little shop with modest rent in scenic Prospect Heights, close to the subway, and just a short block off Atlantic Avenue near Barclays Center, you’ve got a built in customer base…”

New East Village Record Store Will Be ‘Like Flight Club, But For Records’: New York vinyl fans have had to cope with repeated bad news over the past few years, as record shop after record shop has closed downtown. But…a new record shop is coming to the East Village, created by the people behind the podcast and cult Instagram RecordNerdz and focused on hard-to-find contemporary music. Opening July 29, Limited to One will be “a record store for record collectors,” said Kristian Sorge, who founded the store with his girlfriend Nichole Porges. “We’re not shooting to have a lot of dollar bins. We don’t want to have a lot of fluff. We want it to be a very curated space that focuses on contemporary collectible items and out-of-print items.”

Sales of vinyl records not doing too badly, attracting younger crowd: Over the past few years, newer, fresher faces have been navigating through the precarious floor-to-ceiling shelves containing vinyl records at Roxy Disc House, browsing for their favourite records. The vinyl revival in Singapore continues to pick up steam, even as digital music and streaming services might still be the predominant players in the music space, according to the latest statistics from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry. Vinyl sales make up slightly less than 1 per cent of all music sales here, but grew fivefold last year to US$150,000 (S$208,000).

Days when vinyl had music world in a spin: Records dominated the music scene prior to cassettes and CDs, originally coming out as 78s, which means 78 revolutions per minute on a turntable. Later came the more popular 33 1/3 long play record (LP) that could fit more songs on each side of the disc while singles, or 45s, had just one song per side. So vinyl has a long history on the music scene and many argue they have a far better sound than CDs or digital tracks. You can find out for yourself by checking out Back To Vinyl each Thursday afternoon from 1.30pm on 2MCE, when Ron Gibson spins in all your favourite vinyl tracks.

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TVD Live: Alejandro Escovedo, Sammy Brue
at The Birchmere, 6/24

PHOTO: TODD V. WOLFSON | Alejandro Escovedo brings a lot of talented approaches into one rock figure. His show at The Birchmere in Alexandria Saturday had aspects of both his hard rocking post punk career and also his quieter acoustic material. In both, he was backed by a talented three-piece, who wailed when the electricity was full and sat with him when he grabbed the acoustic.

Bringing a variety of influences into his music, from rock, to Texas songwriter traditions, to country, punk, and Tejano, Escovedo seems to have been super-energized since a life-threatening health scare 14 years that also sidelined his music for more than a year.

With the proverbial new lease, he seems at 66 unleashed on stage, and appears as youthful as the other new additions to his band, bassist Aaron McClellan and guitarist Nick Diaz, who added soaring solos in a number of songs. Longtime associate Scott Laningham continues on drums. Too bad it’s not the all-star backing band he had last spring when touring his latest album Burn Something, which featured Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey on guitars and co-writing.

But Escovedo’s plenty able to do these things without them, so he started with rockers he recorded from the last few albums, “Can’t Make Me Run,” “Dear Head on the Wall,” and “Shave Cat” before pulling up a chair and considering some of his oldest songs dating back to “Five Hearts Breaking,” which came alongside a long monologue about the old country musician who inspired it. It was from his first solo album, Gravity, now marking its 25th anniversary.

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Emily West, The TVD First Date and Video Premiere, “Don’t Ever Go To Paris When You’re Lonely”

“After hearing Patsy Cline’s voice as a young girl I was forever changed. I thought to myself, ‘This is what heartbreak sounds like and this is what a real woman sounds like.’ I couldn’t wait to be a grown-up so that I could understand what she was feeling of whatever it was she was singing about: Pain. It was earthy, honest, painful, and I started to mimic her. I’d practice singing in the bathtub with my Barbies and in the bathroom cleaner. Patsy’s my teacher.”

“I was obsessed with Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty growing up and to this day, I am still fully effected by all those dramatic orchestrations. The strings, the fairy choirs, the colors, the romance. When Sleeping Beauty is walking in the woods and singing “I Wonder” and then Prince Philip comes in… at the age of 8, I remember thinking it was hot. Another favorite Disney moment is when Cinderella, AKA Llenn Woods sings “A Dream is a Wish Your Heart Makes” and “So This Is Love.” It’s so hopeful and peaceful. Llenn Woods is a gangster.

The Annie soundtrack pretty much raised me. The songs are burnt in my brain and I start crying anytime the big orchestra part booms in on “It’s a Hard Knock Life” and then when Annie sings “Maybe”… I just can’t take it.

I’m a real sucker for light and dark. Annie and Patsy taught me how to sing honestly. They were my “Girl Scout Kit” on how to be a real singer.

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