Monthly Archives: April 2018

TVD Live Shots: Trivium at the O2 Academy Brixton, 4/21

It’s been a while since I’ve seen a great metal show and the Trivium bill looked too good to pass up. How many other metal bands can maintain a twenty year plus career while keeping with the same label for more than half of that? Eight studio albums, one million records sold worldwide, and a massive international fanbase is the result of consistency, decent marketing, and a frontman who masterfully leverages the world of social media.

Touring in support of what is arguably their strongest record to date, The Sin and the Sentence, the Orlando quartet have been blazing a trail of sold-out gigs across the UK. Critics love the latest album and praise continues to pour in by the leading metal mags including Wall of Sound which has given the album a perfect 10/10 stating “a fantastic album … are in for a treat as they’ve taken everything they’ve learned over the years and just thrown it together strategically to please any (if not all) of their heavier music loving fans.” AllMusic also came in with a strong review stating that “the band has never sounded more confident, delivering a positively lethal 11-song set that strikes the perfect balance between unhinged and meticulously crafted.”

So how was the show? Trivium celebrate all of the core foundational properties of heavy metal plain and simple. Dual guitar harmonies, screaming vocals, epic choruses, and riffs the size of mountains brought to life through a mashup of styles including classic thrash, melodic metal, and a bit of hardcore.

I’m digging the trend of band’s opening up their sets with their latest single which in the case of Trivium is “The Sin and The Sentence.” Not only does this allow the band to come out all guns blazing, but it also gives the fans something new that they’ve not heard live before. Why the hell doesn’t every band do this? While the set weighed heavily on the latest record as it should, it left plenty of room for the classics including “Like Light to Flies” and “Pull Harder on the Strings of Your Martyr” which sounded better than ever.

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TVD Radar: Megadeth’s Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good: The Final Kill vinyl reissue in stores 6/8

VIA PRESS RELEASEHailed as “The Best Thrash Metal Album Of All Time” (VH1), legendary thrash metal trailblazers MEGADETH will continue to celebrate the band’s 35th anniversary with a deluxe re-issue of their revolutionary debut album Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good! The band have partnered with Century Media and Legacy Recordings for release on 08 June 2018 in North America and Europe, and in Japan on 06 June 2018 via Sony Japan.

Killing Is My Business… And Business Is Good: The Final Kill has been completely restored to Dave Mustaine’s intended version. Remixed by veteran metal mixer Mark Lewis (Trivium, Death Angel, Devildriver, Whitechapel) and re-mastered by Ted Jensen for an optimal listening experience, the 2018 version reveals previously unheard parts and performances throughout the record, including a missing drum performance found during the mixing sessions. This rare gem includes the full original album, along with seven live audio tracks from VHS tapes found in Mustaine’s attic!

In addition to the bonus live tracks, the re-issue also features MEGADETH’s 1984 three-track demo and the previously removed cover of “These Boots,” which has been added to the record with re-cut vocals true to Lee Hazelwood’s version.

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First Date and Premiere, “Lay Me Down Easy”

“Vinyl sounds the way music is supposed to sound. There’s friction when the needle meets the groove; it’s a tactile thing in the room, not some digital process. The needle vibrates in the groove and creates natural distortion; the sound of the guitars, the thump of the kick drum, the voice, everything sounds more real and present; like the band is in the room with you.”

“When I was around 10, my brother got this orange mod plastic turntable for his birthday, from Sears I think, and that was my first real portal into the world of vinyl. My parents had a stereo, but that was theirs, and this was all ours. He would bring home records and we would hang out in his room and listen to them over and over. I remember he had Changes One Bowie, Elton John’s Greatest Hits, some early Beatles, Eddie Kendricks, Neil Young, AC/DC “Let There Be Rock,” and I remember vividly the day he first brought home Tom Petty—we really connected with that record. The songs felt like they were written by someone we knew and could relate to.

I grew up in a college town, so once I started buying my own records, there were several cool record stores that I loved going to. And not just when I had money to buy something, but as a place to hang out and spend time. I could spend hours there, just flipping through the bins, taking the records out and looking at the art and reading the liner notes.

And the guy behind the counter had great taste and would turn me on to new stuff that he thought I’d like. I discovered so much great music there that I wouldn’t have found as soon otherwise, like Brian Eno, The Clash, R.E.M., XTC, The Jam, Pere Ubu, Meat Puppets and so many other great bands. Looking back, it was really formative for me musically. (I’m writing this on Record Store Day, by the way, so please support your local record store!)

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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.

PHOSPHENES – People You Love Become Ghosts
In Sonitus Lux – Of Zen And Texas
David Hopkins – Let Somebody Inside
Youth in a Roman Field – I Saw You
Jon Patrick Walker – The Guilty Party
the black watch – The Paper Boats

Isla Craig – The Becoming

Joel Levi – Will We Ever Change?
Stephen Karl & Handsome Animals – Shelter
Sleepspent – Come Smile With Me
Good Rats – Back To My Music
Tom Baker & the Snakes – Doll Eyes
Nytrix – Until the Edge

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Graded on a Curve:
High Tide,
Sea Shanties

So I’m back with my close personal friend Herman Melville, author of the world’s first how-to manual on sperm whaling (Herm: “I swiped the title from a Led Zep song!”) and Herman’s–how’s the best way to put it?–a bit riled up.

The last time we got together Herman proceeded to drink about a dozen 40s of Haffenreffer Private Stock malt liquor (my old pig farmer pal Billy Harrison SWORE it had mescaline in it, but based solely on taste I suspect the secret ingredient is ASS) before delivering a rather dazed and confused sermon on the virtues of the Backstreet Boys’ “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” And believe it or not he actually won me over.

But not tonight. Because tonight he’s REALLY wasted (“Gimme another Haffen-Wrecker! NOW!”) and all he wants to do is tell big fish stories about some album by a band called High Tide I’ve never heard of and don’t particularly want to hear. But old Ahab is insistent and what’s more he’s brought the fucking album with him, and when Herman’s on a tear it’s best to just get out of his way.

But before he can put it on I snatch the empty sleeve out of his hands and say, “What is this shit? Sea Shanties? I ain’t listenin’ to no fucking sea shanties! I HATE folk music!” And Herman’s like, “These ain’t your old harpooner’s sea shanties of the sort you’ll find on Paul Clayton’s Whaling and Sailing Songs (From the Days of Moby Dick)! NOBODY likes that shit! I nearly PUKED every time I was forced to listen to “The Maid of Amsterdam” during my whaling days on the Acushnet! It’s the reason I jumped ship in the Marquesas Seas! This is rock’n’roll! With just a whiff of prog to it but not enough so’s you’d want to make it walk the plank!”

“I don’t believe you!” I shout. “What do you know about music anyway? You’re a goddamned customs inspector!” “Retired!” bellows Herman, who is touchy on the subject. “And wrote a book called The Pizza Tales!” I shout, just to dig the knife in a bit deeper. “That’s The PIAZZA Tales!” he roars. “Now get outta my beard and listen to this shit!” He puts it on, muttering, “Came out in ‘69. One of the first rock albums with a violin on it. Blah blah blah blah… “

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In rotation: 4/30/18

Popular record shop in Downham Market set to shut: An independent, family-owned music and movies shop in Downham is closing after 45 years in town. Just a couple of days after Lewks celebrated its 11th Record Store Day, the store announced its doors will close on June 2, at the end of its current lease. Father and daughter duo Lawrence Welham and Danielle Welham-Smith, who run the shop in Wales Court, made the announcement on social media on Monday, and say they will “truly miss it all”. They said: “This has been a huge and very hard decision for us both to make. “With Lawrence’s impending 70th birthday fast approaching, retirement is well deserved, so it is with pure heartache that Danielle will not be carrying on Lewks once our current lease expires in June.

Popular family-run record store to close after 45 years: Lewks record store, in Wales Court, Downham Market, announced on their Facebook page that they will closing down after their current lease expires in June 2018. The independent shop is run by Lawrence Wilham and his daughter Danielle Willham-Smith, but with Mr Wilham looking to retire after his 70th birthday his daughter will not be carrying on Lewks and it is set to close on Saturday, June 2. They told their followers: “We leave behind an entire lifetime of memories, which will remain with us forever, not to mention our fantastic customers, the wonderful reps, our staff over the years and all our friends. We will both truly miss it all. “There are not many jobs in life where you can genuinely say you enjoy going to work every single day, but we both do, we love it and it will be a very sad day, we will miss it immensely, it’s been our lives.”

Moondance independent record store closing doors in Peterborough on Saturday: Moondance, one of the oldest independent records stores in Canada, is closing for good on Saturday after 46 years in business. Owner Mike Taveroff was busy on Friday as crowds came in to wish him well – and also to take advantage of deep discounts. Everything left in the store was 70 per cent off. Although the place was busy Friday, Taveroff said he thinks Saturday will be “controlled insanity”. “It’ll be a zoo in here tomorrow,” he said. Taveroff started selling records in 1972 in his wife Cheryl’s clothing store – called Moondance, after the Van Morrison song.

Vinyl Dublin announces Timetable: Vinyl is described as an immersive theatre of the mind that insightfully celebrates the rich history and enduring legacy of vinyl, its landmark recordings, key personnel, and the groundbreaking labels and studios that cultivated such talent. VINYL will feature specially programmed talks, panel discussions, curated collections, music performances, album playbacks, pop-up stores, signings, and equipment showcases. The various events will each make special use of the RHK’s expansive grounds and infrastructure.

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TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

In these times of contention / it’s not my intention to make things plain / I’m looking through mirrors to catch the reflection / that can’t be mine / I’m losing control now I’ll just have to slow down a thought or two / I can’t feel the future and I’m not even certain that there is a past…

I’m not totally sure what I believe in these days. Are you? I hate to blame it on the state of politics, but who knows?

Yesterday we had a “brown out” in the canyon. Man, that “browning” flipped a switch. Nothing worked. There was no charging devices, mobile service, or internet. No way to call and check and no fucking hot water. Fuck man, I had to take a few deep breaths and pray everything would be OK. For the most part it was. I lost a couple of hours of time, but thinking back, it wasn’t so bad.

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TVD Live Shots: Hooverphonic at the Islington Assembly
Hall, 4/18

Hooverphonic continues to be one of the most eclectic and versatile groups on the planet. Hailing from Belgium, the core duo of the group, Alex Callier and Raymond Geerts, are the essence of cool as they blend elements of electropop, jazz, rock, and of course trip-hop.

When I heard that the group would be playing only one UK show in London at the Islington Assembly Hall, I jumped at the chance to see them. The last time I saw a Hooverphonic show was in support of the band’s 2000 masterpiece The Magnificent Tree. Geike Arnaert was the vocalist on this record as well as on the previous record, the critically acclaimed Blue Wonder Powder Milk, and she complimented the sonic landscapes of Callier and Geerts perfectly. I would argue that she had one of the best voices in the electronica scene at this time and it was incredible to watch the band evolve and explore new territory.

Fast forward to 2018 and Hooverphonic returns with new music and a new vocalist, Luka Cruysberghs. Cruysberghs was the winner of Belgium’s The Voice contest, which she won in 2017 alongside coach Alex Callier. While it might sound like a leap of faith to trust a reality TV show winner as the frontwoman and voice of the band with such large shoes to fill, she’s off to a great start. This would be a trial by fire in front of a sold-out London crowd.

Her voice is stellar, and she nailed Hooverphonic classics such as “2 Wicky,” “Inhaler,” and the crossover smash “Mad About You,” but there was an element of maturity that might have been missing based on the experience and confidence of the previous singers. That said, I do like the mystique she brings to the group, and it will be interesting to see how she grows and makes the role her own.

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TVD Radar: Matthew Sweet announces vinyl reissues via Intervention Records for 2018

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Intervention Records and Matthew Sweet are proud to introduce an amazing NEW Artist-Approved reissue series, Matthew Sweet 1991-1995! In 2018 Intervention is releasing Double-LP Artist-Approved Expanded Editions of Sweet’s Trilogy of ’90s Power-Pop classics, Girlfriend (IR-021), Altered Beast (IR-011) and 100% Fun (IR-019), plus the “Son of Altered Beast” (IR-024) 7-song EP, which appears on vinyl for the very first time!

Each Expanded Edition Double-LP set of the three classic studio albums is loaded with extra tracks not included on the original LPs- 6 extra tracks each on Girlfriend and Altered Beast, and 7 on 100% Fun. So many of these songs are either appearing on vinyl for the very first time or seeing official release for the very first time. And for Sweet completists, these LPs are the most extensive collection of extra tracks compiled and packaged with the studio albums the songs were recorded for!

All four LPs are 100% analog mastered from the ORIGINAL ANALOG MASTER TAPES by Ryan K. Smith at Sterling Sound. The original 15-song repertoires for Girlfriend and Altered Beast are for the first time spread across three LP sides for maximum sound quality and the ability to PLAY LOUD! The ultra-quiet 180-gram LPs are pressed at boutique press, RTI in Camarillo, CA.

The jacket art for Matthew Sweet 1991-1995 has been faithfully restored by IR’s art director Tom Vadakan. The three Expanded Editions feature beautiful “Old Style” gatefolds printed onto heavy blanks and film laminated by the wizards at Stoughton Printing. Son of Altered Beast features a single-pocket “Old Style” gatefold by Stoughton as well.

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Our Jazz Fest Picks
for the First Weekend, 4/28–4/29

Saturdays are the biggest, most crowded days at the Jazz Fest, so it behooves you to get there early. With Rod Stewart filling in for Aretha Franklin as the main act on the Acura stage there are bound to be as many disappointed festers as there are those happy about seeing the old Brit tear through his deep catalog. Here are our picks. The Saturday schedule is here.

Mardi Gras Indians are always a good way to start the day. The Commanche Hunters are a newer tribe on a cultural scene that has been growing every year since Katrina almost decimated the indigenous black communities of New Orleans.

Take a trip around the fest before heading back to the Jazz and Heritage stage for Big Chief Walter Cook and the Creole Wild West at 1:25 PM. They are the oldest black Indian tribe in New Orleans dating back to the turn of the 20th century.

Or for amazing intergenerational roots rock, head to the Gentilly stage for the Chilluns. Though New Orleans has plenty of intergenerational bands, there are four reasons why the Chilluns are singular among these ensembles. The group hails from three families (Malones, Bohrens, and Clements), features both male and female musicians, doesn’t play jazz or brass band music, and most significantly, rarely performs due to scheduling conflicts.

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Graded on a Curve: Procol Harum,
Procol Harum

Oh groovy of groovies! Procol Harum MADE the Summer of Love with their immortal debut single “A Whiter Shade of Pale.” If I recall correctly John Lennon used to pump it out the windows of his psychedelic Rolls Royce while driving stoned immaculate down happening Carnaby Street, and why not? The sound is heavy as Bach, the lyrics are, like, deep, man, and listening to it is like slow dancing your way across the bottoms of tangerine seas while the sun of the real world beats on the waves above you a million, trillion miles away.

John Lennon again: “You play it when you take some acid and wooooo.”

A couple of months later Procol Harum gave us their debut LP (and one of the finest albums of 1967), Procol Harum. Released by my favorite label, Regal Zonophone, Procol Harum is every bit as groovy as “A Whiter Shade of Pale,” which didn’t make it onto the U.K. release but was included on the U.S. one. Procol Harum can be divided into heavy tunes and pop lightweights but it doesn’t have a loser on it unless you include the silly “Good Captain Clack,” which the folks at Regal Zonophone had the good sense to jettison from the U.S. version in favor of “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”

People talk about Procol Harum being a slice of proto-prog and I suppose they’re right; organist Matthew Fisher liked his dead composers every bit as much as Keith Emerson. But–but!–he never lowered himself to slavish imitation but instead alchemized the sounds of all those defunct powdered wig-wearing geniuses in such a way that you never feel like you’re being forced to inhale some moribund Beethoven’s classical gas.

Take “Repent Walpurgis.” It may have been built on the moldering corpses of Charles-Marie Widor and Johann Sebastian Bach but what I hear is one cool instrumental; sure, Fisher waxes classical on the organ, but he’s playing it with soul, and soul is what differentiates this baby from your typical ELP Mussorgsky plod. The proof? His organ sounds right at home with Robin “Bridge of Sighs” Trower’s truly astounding guitar caterwaul. Fisher’s more playful, too; his organ on the jaunty “She Wandered Through the Garden Fence” may fall under the label “neoclassical,” but it’s also a lot of fun.

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In rotation: 4/27/18

Beloved Nashville record shop is headed east: Grimey’s New & Preloved Music, a nearly 20-year-old Nashville record store, plans to move across town this fall. According to a news release, Grimey’s will consolidate the inventories of both its main location and neighboring Grimey’s Too in its new home at 1060 East Trinity Lane, formerly the home of Point of Mercy Church. Both stores are currently located on Eighth Avenue South, in neighboring buildings. Grimey’s Too’s home, 1702 8th Ave. S., has been sold, according to the release, and that store will close at the end of May. Grimey’s 1604 Eighth Ave. S. home has been on the market for more than two years but has yet to sell, and the record store will continue to operate there until November.

New Stellarton record shop features technical flair: Stellarton’s downtown just got a little more musical with the addition of Ohm-N Audio – a store owned by a man with a great enthusiasm for anything related to music and sound. Dennis Balesdent, owner of Ohm-N Audio, said he was looking to provide something he thought the area needed, and felt he was the right guy to do so. Balesdent said he knew he found a calling when 25 years ago he was asked to fix his grandmother’s speakers and he got “hooked on speaker design and getting things to sound real.” That appreciation for the technical nuances of sound was one of many ways Balesdent pursued a love of music and musical technology. Before opening his business on Foord Street, Balesdent worked as an online retailer of records – but the purview of Ohm-N Audio goes far beyond just record sales.

So Retro: Vinyl records keep on spinning: Step inside Rainbo Records in Los Angeles to see how vinyl records are made. Vinyl is having a major revival. Thanks to millennial listeners discovering the format fresh, and audiophiles who love the sound quality, the demand for vinyl records is growing. Rainbo Records in Los Angeles is one of several record makers across the US that’s stepping up to meet demand from a new generation of listeners. The company has has been pressing records since 1939, with some machines over 40 years old. Rainbo produces around 23,000 records a day and runs the plant 24 hours a day, 5 days a week. Watch the video to learn how Rainbo Records makes vinyl and how little the manufacturing process has changed…

Brooklyn record store Black Gold brings its vinyl, oddities and coffee to SoHo: For years, we’ve been mourning the loss of great neighborhood record stores like Greenwich’s Other Music, Bleecker Street Records and Rebel Rebel — all which shuttered in 2016 — but one Brooklyn-based shop is ready to fill the void. Carroll Gardens’ Black Gold celebrated the opening of its SoHo location inside the Artists and Fleas market on Broadway in February. Taking after its Brooklyn shop, Black Gold’s corner of Artists and Fleas still serves up Brooklyn-roasted coffee next to its taxidermied animal heads and vinyl (ranging from hip-hop and punk rock to gospel, jazz and swing), but now there’s a new clientele.

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TVD Radar: Musicians Take Aim to End Gun Violence comp to benefit Stop Handgun Violence

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Stop Handgun Violence (SHV) is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization founded in 1994 by successful businessman, John Rosenthal, and the late Michael Kennedy. SHV works to prevent firearm violence through public awareness, education, policy advocacy, and law enforcement strategies—without banning guns. In Massachusetts, we’re making a real difference. Since 1994, we have passed the most comprehensive gun laws in the nation and have drastically reduced gun injuries, homicides, and accidents. Massachusetts’ gun violence prevention efforts are a model for the nation.

Since its start, Stop Handgun Violence has increased public awareness about the epidemic of gun violence. SHV developed several effective media and public education campaigns, the centerpiece of which is one of the largest billboards in the nation. Other initiatives have included distributing trigger locks, a nationwide billboard campaign, partnering with after school programs, and media productions with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Department of Justice.

SHV was the lead advocate for the Massachusetts Gun Control Act of 1998 (Chapter 180), the most comprehensive gun violence prevention law in the country. This common-sense law mandates safe storage, manufacturing standards, strict gun dealer regulations, safety training requirements, and effective licensing procedures. SHV continues to support legislation that keeps guns out of the hands of children and criminals.

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Our Jazz Fest Picks
for Day One, 4/27

PHOTO: DENNIS McDONOUGH | Here we go again! It’s time to start figuring out where you’ll be when the gates of the 2018 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival open at 11 AM on Friday. Regular readers know I tend to highlight some of the lesser-known acts for our picks every day. You know where to look if you need to find out about the big acts. The full schedule is here.

Conflicts are inevitable at the Jazz Fest and the opening slot on the first Friday is no exception. Michael Skinkus and Moyuba are a great and spiritual way to start the day on the intimate Jazz and Heritage stage. Skinkus is one of the city’s top percussionists and his group plays the sacred sounds of Afro-Cuban music associated with Santeria religious devotion.

For something a bit more contemporary, New Orleans blues and roots master guitarist Spencer Bohren and the Whippersnappers are just the ticket. This band features the veteran with a young-ish band that includes his son, drummer Andre. World music lovers will also have to make a choice in the 1:30 PM time slot. Local resident and Cuban native Alexey Marti brings his hot band into the Jazz Tent.

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A Big Yes and a small no,
The TVD First Date

“There are VERY few things I did when I was 5 that I still do now. I still brush my teeth. I still tell my mom I love her. And I still buy vinyl. “Take it Away” on 45 by Paul McCartney was my first. “A Brief History of Amazing Letdowns” on 10″ by Lilys (after quite a search) was my last.”

“Around the time I bought my first, my sister got “Thriller” on 45 and because it was so long the grooves were TINY. And if you even breathed on it, it would skip. My dad said, “I’ve got a song longer than that on 45” and showed us Don McLean’s “American Pie,” which was so long it faded out halfway through on side A and faded BACK IN on side B!

My dad was into building speaker cabinets and he let me hold a speaker that was producing sound before he installed it. I still remember watching the needle tracking on the grooves, my eyes following along the wires to the speaker cradled in my hands. Seeing it move. Feeling the air and the vibrations. Hearing it create MUSIC. It absolutely enthralled me.

People assume I’m into vinyl because I’ve been a hip-hop DJ since the mid ’90s, but they’re wrong. I was already into vinyl long before I was a DJ. The reason? Because vinyl is inherently social. All of my fond memories of vinyl involve other people.

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