Monthly Archives: June 2018

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

We got no high times, always flat / If you go out, you don’t come back / It’s all so funny I can’t laugh / Oh, perfect day / What more to say? / Don’t need no one to tell me what I don’t already know…

Next week July 4th falls on a Wednesday, and for the life of me I can’t recall a July 4th on a Wednesday. Honestly it’s a bit disorienting.

Are we open for business? Do I “fuck off?” Or do I wait until Monday? How upside down and perfect. Here’s a set up of perfect songs to BBQ to. Enjoy it all as it’s happening…

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Demand it on Vinyl:
Alice Coltrane, Spiritual Eternal—The Complete Warner Bros. Studio Recordings in stores 9/7

If you stress it, they’ll press it. —Ed.

VIA PRESS RELEASE | After the death of John Coltrane, Alice Coltrane embarked upon a solo career that was marked with the same uncompromising vision, spiritual probing, and formal innovation as that of her husband. Her first seven solo albums were recorded for the Impulse! label, home to John during the latter part of his career; those records, though offering more of the modal jazz with devotional overtones that Coltrane fans had come to cherish, also saw her branch out in unexpected ways, introducing new instruments (harp, Wurlitzer organ), new styles (raga, modern classical), and new approaches to recording, even incorporating classical string sections into a “free” musical environment.

By the mid-‘70s, however, time was ripe for a change. ABC, the parent label of Impulse!, was suffering from management upheaval, while the now-local Warner Bros. label—Coltrane had moved to Woodland Hills, CA to raise her family—was aggressively pursuing a number of Impulse! artists, with Alice at the top of the list. Spiritual Eternal—The Complete Warner Bros. Studio Recordings brings together, for the first time ever, the three studio albums that Alice Coltrane cut for the Warner Bros. label, albums that proved to be her final commercial recordings of the 20th century.

Though it is difficult to characterize such an eclectic and far-reaching collection of music, several things hold true throughout these three records, recorded from 1975 to 1977 with Ed Michel as producer. The first is that Alice’s instrument of choice was increasingly the Wurlitzer organ, specifically a 1971 Wurlitzer 805 Centura that included an Orbit III analog synthesizer with pitch-bending ability as one of its three manuals—a feature she used liberally and which further distinguished her sound. Coltrane credited divine guidance for her choice of the instrument; it certainly pushed her work even farther from jazz, its droning sound echoing that of the harmonium used in Eastern music.

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Dr. Michael White’s Tricentennial Rag in stores today, 6/29

The New Orleans tricentennial has occasioned celebrations large and small across the city and the country. Surprisingly, there isn’t much new music being released to commemorate the historic occasion. So, Tricentennial Rag, the latest album from clarinetist, bandleader, and music historian Dr. Michael White is a welcome addition to both his voluminous output and the city’s festivities. After a local Jazz Fest release, the album is in stores today nationally on Basin Street Records.

All of the tunes on the new album are originals with the exception of the record’s closing song, the perennial favorite, “When the Saints Go Marching In.” The chestnut is given a treatment that takes the song back to its origins as a hymn. Longtime White sideman, trumpeter and vocalist Gregory Stafford, takes the vocal and brings the song back to the ecstasy of the black church.

Elsewhere on the album, Stafford sings another gospel-inspired original, “I Saw Jesus Standing in the Water.” But don’t think for a second that the album is filled with sacred songs, Stafford also takes the lead vocal on a new addition to the short list of modern-day Carnival originals with his vivacious take on “On Mardi Gras Day.”

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The Davenports,
The TVD First Date

“The story of my first record is a complex one. There was, in fact, a first, that I bought personally, but then there was the collection I was already exposed to through my older brother. And it’s that collection that gets props for being so strong that it could keep my first record in its proper context.”

“The first record I ever bought was Kiss Destroyer. I loved Kiss. I was like 10 or 11. It was a great thing to have on LP (which is all there was then) because of the art–it was like having a freaking painting. That first purchase lead to a buying spree of all things Kiss–records for sure, but that right down to the Tiger Beat or Hit Parader that had one, meager, tiny black and white picture of Gene Simmons puking blood.

I would like to say that I, like many young ’70s suburbanites, was merely overcome by that perfect blend of theater and rock–taken in by the hype. But somehow, I actually loved the music as well. Listening to it now it’s sort of hard to image how you ever liked it. I mean the words are really dumb–guys singing about their love guns and such–there was a lot of bombast. But the tunes could rock and had some great pop hooks. Anyway, I loved it all at 11.

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Graded on a Curve:
Asia, Asia

So what do we have here? Let’s see: world’s most unnecessary prog supergroup names itself after world’s largest continent, releases self-titled debut LP that subsumes worst prog instincts in attempt to score big hit singles, and ends up with No. 1 album in the U.S. in 1982. Oh, and world’s largest continent inexplicably fails to sue for slander.

Reality is so depressing. No wonder people love Roger Dean, whose fantasy-themed artwork decorates Asia’s cover. Better to meditate upon a sea-skating serpent playing fetch with a glowing orb than acknowledge that the American people sent this tepid, Prog Lite monstrosity to the top of the charts.

I had no problem with this quartet of castaways from the likes of Yes (guitarist Steve Howe and keyboardist Geoff Downes), King Crimson (lead vocalist/bassist John Wetton) and Emerson, Lake & Palmer (drummer Carl Palmer) selling out–I never much liked the precious fares said bands were hawking to begin with. It’s the popularity of Asia’s Pop Prog that I find so inexplicable. And Asia wasn’t alone; Phil Collins was successfully retooling grandiose Art Prog Vehicle Genesis into a hit-making hotrod at the same time.

But who can blame them? Dumbing down to meet the pop crowd halfway–by doing away with the album-side-long cuts, the classical influences, the complex time signatures, and the endless displays of technical virtuosity–turned out to be good commercial horse sense. Gone was Rick Wakeman in his golden cape, and in were these rags and bones merchants, who held on to the tattered trappings of progressive rock but reined in its worst impulses. No more themes from Mussorgsky or long-winded tales from topographic oceans–it’s back to the popular song!

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In rotation: 6/29/18

Portland, OR | 10 Million Releases on Discogs! Discogs, the world’s foremost Database, Marketplace, and Community for physical music, surpasses a significant data milestone with the addition of the 10 millionth release to the Discogs Database. The user-built, open-source database, with more than 400,000 Contributors, continues the nearly 18-year mission to build the most extensive and comprehensive music Database and Marketplace in the world. In 2000, Founder and President, Kevin Lewandowski launched the Discogs Database by submitting The Persuader’s 2xLP release Stockholm followed by the launch of the Discogs Marketplace in 2003, establishing an essential resource for record collectors worldwide, and unknowingly setting a cornerstone for the vinyl revival and international cultural experiences like Record Store Day.

Cambridge, UK | Millionaire lottery winner returns to his roots with new record shop: A Haverhill man who won a £148 million jackpot is returning to his roots by re-opening a record shop in the town. Multi-millionaire Adrian Bayford landed the second biggest lottery win in British history in 2012. Bayford, 45, was selling second hand albums from a music shop when he struck lucky on the Euromillions. Eight years on from his life changing win he is opening a new branch of Black Barn Records in Haverhill. The bric-a-brac store sells everything from life-size cutouts of Hollywood legends to signed Beatles memorabilia. Bayford already owns a record store by Cambridge’s Grafton Centre with the same name, which he opened in April 2016, but his newest venture is on the same site as where he used to work.

John Coltrane’s New ‘Lost Album’ Captures a Day in the Life of His Greatest Band: Any newly discovered music from a legend on the order of John Coltrane is an event. But the reason advance buzz has been particularly feverish for Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, a previously unissued session from March of 1963, is that it comes from the era of his so-called Classic Quartet. Simply put, the group – featuring pianist McCoy Tyner, bassist Jimmy Garrison and drummer Elvin Jones – was Coltrane’s greatest band, a unit perfectly poised between hard-edged swing and gravity-defying exploration. And here, suddenly, we have 90 minutes of excellent-sounding material from them that most never knew existed.

Jerry Goldsmith’s The Omen soundtrack released on limited white vinyl: 666 copies, naturally. The original soundtrack for 1976 horror film The Omen is being released on limited white LP, via Varase Sarabande this June. The Omen stars Gregory Peck as an American diplomat who replaces his deceased baby with an orphan whose mother died at birth. Little do they know that this seemingly innocent newborn is actually the Antichrist. Legendary American composer Jerry Goldsmith who also crafted sounds for films including Planet of the Apes, Chinatown, and LA Confidential created its Oscar winning score, which also received a best original song nomination for ‘Ave Satani’ (Hail Satan).

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TVD Live: The Feelies at the 9:30 Club, 6/22

PHOTO: DOUG SEYMOUR | The fast jangle and hypnotic rhythms of The Feelies is not just a warm throwback to 1980s when their first album ushered in a precise kind of frantic nerd rock, influencing a number of other bands. By now, the band is a standard-bearer for an enduring strain of New York rock. With its droning chords, flighty solos, pounding drums, and deadpan vocals, it’s the closest thing to the Velvet Underground in the 21st Century.

It’s a homage the quintet acknowledged in its splendid and generous return performance at the 9:30 Club Friday night. Two of the four covers in their series of encores were from the Velvets. And the harder rocking selections from their latest material from their 2017 album In Between forge the same heady path, particularly the title song. It was presented, as on the album, in two ways, the original and in an expanded psychedelicized version in the encores. By the end, Glenn Mercer was rubbing his guitar neck against the microphone, which you wouldn’t have expected such a reserved person to do.

Mercer is paired with the similarly bespectacled and overly reserved Bill Million, with Mercer taking on all the lead vocals and most of the lead guitar work, as Million adds the textures of his rhythmic guitar. The two barely spoke to the crowd and could scarcely bring themselves to even look up at them, despite the adoration.

To their left, Brenda Sauter began the show creating tones on guitar on the opening “When Company Comes.” She became a third percussionist late in the show, hitting a standing tom. But mostly she played bass, sang some harmonies, and acted like Earth translator for the rest of the front line, saying thanks from time to time. “You make us feel so welcome,” she said at the outset.

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TVD Live Shots: Hollywood Vampires, The Damned, and The Darkness at SSE Arena, 6/20

The history of the Hollywood Vampires originates in the 1970s on the Sunset Strip at the world-famous Rainbow Bar & Grill. The upstairs bar is where the original Vamps formed a drinking club that included legends Keith Moon, John Lennon, Harry Nilsson, and just about any other rock star who found themselves passing through.

While the club would lay dormant for a couple of decades, Alice Cooper and Johnny Depp would breathe new life into the Vampires in 2015. Since then, a band has consisted of the core of Cooper, Depp, and Aerosmith axeman Joe Perry. They’ve played gigs and festivals, released an album, and finally made their way over to the UK for a tour in 2018. This is the first time I would see the band live—and they were spectacular.

I’ve read a few recent reviews that claimed Depp was “staggering” across the stage but I’m not sure what the hell they’re talking about. The Vampires looked and sounded great. And anyone who’s asking the question of whether or not Depp deserves to share the stage with rock ‘n’ roll royalty should listen to what his conspirators have to say.

Joe Perry has praised his actor friend’s musical skill, saying he was as “good as anybody I’ve worked with,” and “I don’t think he’d be up on the stage with Alice and me and the other cats if he wasn’t holding his own as he does.” Cooper’s praise is equally flattering, adding, “He’s really a good player. He’s a musician through and through I don’t think of him as an actor. He’s a guitar player.” If that’s not enough credentials, then move along and find another supergroup to bitch about.

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TVD Radar: Burning Down The Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall by Tim Mohr in stores 9/11

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “The best punk book since Please Kill Me. ​—Legs McNeil, author of Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk

Writer and award-winning German-language translator Tim Mohr has announced the release of his first book, Burning Down the Haus: Punk Rock, Revolution, and the Fall of the Berlin Wall, out September 11, 2018 via Algonquin Books. Telling the little-known story of a group of East German kids who rebelled and helped set the world on fire, Mohr takes readers on a fascinating trip through the 1980s.

Rejecting the dismal, pre-ordained futures the dictatorship tried to impose on them, these teenagers embraced punk—the aesthetic, the music, the liberating feeling of collective anarchy—and defied the state and its security apparatus. Banding together, they faced down surveillance, police violence, blacklisting from schools and jobs, and even imprisonment as they fought to create and control their own individual futures.

Beginning in earnest in the late 1970s, a handful of young people who had lived in the shadow of the Berlin Wall their entire lives caught snatches of punk music on forbidden British military radio broadcasts and began to question authority, daring to dress differently and make music that was dangerously critical of the government. Living inside the borders of East Germany but outside the system, they were hassled in the streets relentlessly pursued by the Stasi—the notorious East German secret police—but would not be deterred in their pursuit of punk.

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Matt Mays,
The TVD First Date

“I did all of my records with A and B sides in mind. Even though they were going to compact disc or digital at the time of release, I always followed the vinyl template to ensure maximum Musical adventure. After a long, strange, and cold digital journey, I feel like these albums have finally made their way back home to where they belong: on warm vinyl.”

“My first album I started in my parents’ basement and finished at the legendary Charles Austin’s studio, called Ultramagnetic, in Halifax. It was where my heroes Buck 65 and Joel Plaskett did albums. It was on the very teeny top floor of the Khyber building art space that just recently was spared from wreckage. We included my original version of “City of Lakes” as a bonus track, which I believe was held back due to my very questionable drumming.

El Torpedo and myself recorded the second record pretty much live off the floor in Halifax with Don Smith, a producer who worked on some of the great early Tragically Hip albums. Don also engineered a few Tom Petty albums and also The Traveling Wilburys albums. You could say we were pretty excited to get started on that one…

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores, June
2018, Part Four

Part four of the TVD Record Store Club’s look at the new and reissued releases presently in stores for June, 2018. Part one is here, part two is here, and part three is here.

NEW RELEASE PICKS: The Innocence Mission, Sun on the Square (Badman Recording Co. / Bella Union / P-Vine) It’s been a long time (like last century) since I’ve listened to The Innocence Mission, but their tenth album (they’ve been busy over the last few years) immediately brought the memories flooding back. This is wholly due to Karen Peris’ distinct voice, which I’ve always had a soft spot for, even in my noise-craving youth, when I generally appreciated her and the playing of Peris’ guitarist husband Don and bassist Mike Bitts through exposure from others rather than actively seeking them out. While gentle, The Innocence Mission eluded preciousness, and still do, with this a damn fine record, especially the Astrud Gilbert/ bossa nova-inspired title track. Looks like I have some catching up to do. A-

Allen Ravenstine, Waiting for the Bomb (ReR Megacorp) Upon learning that original Pere Ubu synthesizer man Allen Ravenstine was once again making music, I was excited. First came a pair of duo outings with current Ubu synth player Robert Wheeler, and last year The Pharaoh’s Bee found Ravenstine alone. That one was cool, but this follow-up, which employs analogue and digital instruments, hardware and software, is even better. There’s lots of abstraction on this hour-plus set, but also moments recalling sci-fi soundtracks/ incidental music, early electronics, jazz both straight-up mersh and with darker undercurrents, general ambience, and even a little funk. Sweet. Limited vinyl comes with a 48-page perfect bound volume of Allen’s music-related short stories. Even sweeter. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Barbara Dane, Hot Jazz, Cool Blues & Hard-Hitting Songs (Smithsonian Folkways) It’s the 70th anniversary of Smithsonian Folkways, and I’m way past due to salute ‘em. This excellent 2CD primer into an often-overlooked vocalist-guitarist-leftist hero can be obtained from the label in a bundle with the vinyl reissue of Barbara Dane and the Chambers Brothers. Equally adept at range of blues, jazz, and protest folk, had Dane allowed herself to succumb to record company bullshit, she would’ve been better known in her prime, but this set illustrates that her achievements were huge in a more substantial way. As the injustice she fought against still exists, this collection is screamingly relevant. Features contributions from Lightnin’ Hopkins, Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, and Doc Watson. A-

Anna & Elizabeth, The Invisible Comes to Us (Smithsonian Folkways) I can’t believe I missed the boat on this one; only by a few months (it came out in March), but still. I’d gotten hipped to the work of Anna Roberts-Gevalt and Elizabeth LaPrelle last year due to comparisons made to another duo, House & Land. There’s a definite similarity between the two acts (and some shared Virginia roots), but also differences. Like House & Land, Anna & Elizabeth are steeped in tradition but never quaint, and this is their third album (available on wax), the byproduct of a shared residency in Virginia after a year’s worth of researching the archives of song collector Helen Hartness Flanders. Combining the true folk root with elements of the ’60s-’80s NYC avant-garde, the results are enveloping and often glorious. A

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In rotation: 6/28/18

Gloucestershire, ENG | Stroud band to launch debut single with Sound Records: An exciting new band from Stroud will mark the release of their debut single with a gig at Sound Records this Saturday. The gig will take place at the Sound Records store in Gloucester Street at 2pm in an event that is sure to showcase their new single Come Alive. Stroud residents Tom Percival and Mathew Lacey founded Grasscourt after meeting at a fundraiser for their community playgroup. Tom outlined how the upcoming band caught the attention of their record label, Lost Map Records. “We didn’t really expect the band to develop beyond the fundraiser, but we’re thrilled to have caught the attention of a small record label,” said Tom. “Now we’ve released the single, we are hoping to gig as much as we can around Stroud starting at Sounds Records.”

Atlantic City, NJ | Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Atlantic City: Music, Music, Music: If you’re not busy seeing or listening, hotel habitués can take in Hard Rock’s “Sound of Your Stay” program where guests check out Fender guitars or vinyl record turntables and a selection of albums. “From the 50 music zones throughout the property where we curate every single song and monitor their tone and volume, to our “365 Live” aspect of musicians playing somewhere — everywhere — when you walk into Hard Rock, it’s an immersive experience,” said Adam Zenegl, the hotel’s locally-born “Vibe Manager.”

Our 10 favourite reissues of 2018 so far: We begin our mid-year round-up with a look at the most compelling reissues and compilations of the last six months. Perhaps more so even than new releases, the best reissues are gateways to new worlds, one-way tickets to far flung destinations and lost eras of music. Year on year, the scope of these retrospectives gets wider. Whether they’re compilations like Soundway’s superb South African bubblegum pop release Gumba Fire that bring a scene to life once more, or Finders Keepers’ lost Serge Gainsbourg soundtrack, that expose something both classic and altogether new in one go, the best reissues are those which add the sum knowledge of this musical world, and increase our access to it in the process.

A Kaleidoscope Of Sounds: Psych & Freakbeat Masterpieces Vinyl Box Set: Seems to be the season of the box set. Next on the upcoming list is A Kaleidoscope Of Sounds: Psych & Freakbeat Masterpieces, which is actually a vinyl box set. This is a 7 x 7-inch box set compiled by Phil Smee and containing what is described as ‘some of the rarest and most valuable Psychedelic & Freakbeat singles from the 1960s’. Quite a boast. It is also a first time reissue for nearly all of these singles since their original pressings, with each housed in replica label bags with original artwork alongside an extensive booklet and rare photos. Each box is also individually numbered (just 1,000 are being made) and includes download card if you want to take the tunes with you.

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TVD Live Shots: Paramore and Foster the People at Merriweather Post Pavilion, 6/23

Saturday night, The Woodlands at Merriweather Post Pavilion hosted one of music’s most expressive acts in recent years, the power-pop trio Paramore. In tow, indie pop-rockers, Foster the People bought their synth grooves to round out the lineup.

For a band whose initial touring leg in coming to a close, Paramore’s enthusiasm remained unwavering. In fact, Hayley and the boys seem more focused than ever and their infectious energy carried well beyond the confines of the stage. When Williams appeared, she struck as hard as a bolt of lightning with her signature dance moves and high kicks—and the music behind her followed every move.

The first song of night, “Grudges” (from the new album) set things off on a good foot. Next was a kick from their self titled fourth album, “Still Into You” followed by “Rose-Colored Boy.” Their classics, “That’s What You Get” and “Crushcrushcrush” rounded out their first five tunes before bouncing back with “Fake Happy.”

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TVD Radar: Elvis Presley, Where No One Stands Alone blue vinyl in stores 8/10

VIA PRESS RELEASE | “Since I was two years old,” Elvis Presley once said, “all I knew was gospel music. It became such a part of my life, it was as natural as dancing. A way to escape my problems, and my way of release.” It was gospel music that most ferociously stoked his musical passions, even as his unique synthesis of country, popular, and rhythm and blues styles made him an idol to millions around the world.

The new album Where No One Stands Alone, available August 10, celebrates the power and passion of Elvis Presley’s gospel music. Produced by Joel Weinshanker, Andy Childs and Lisa Marie Presley, the album features 14 of Elvis’ most treasured performances of inspirational music with rare alternate Elvis vocal takes and newly-recorded instrumentation and backing vocals, including members of The Blossoms, The Sweet Inspirations, The Imperials, and The Stamps Quartet. The title track, originally recorded in 1966, is presented as a duet between Elvis and his daughter, Lisa Marie Presley. will have exclusive, limited edition versions of the album on blue 12” vinyl and cassette configurations. Fans purchasing the CD, exclusive blue vinyl, and cassette together from will receive a limited edition lithograph signed by Lisa Marie Presley.

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Graded on a Curve: Culture Club,
This Time–The First
Four Years

Yeah, I was that dick. You know, the dick whose unvarying response to Boy George’s “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” was “Yes!” But not because he wore makeup and a dress. I was fine with that. It was because, well, poor George sounded like such a defenseless wuss.

But I turned that “Yes!” into a “You go, girl!” a long time ago, and my typical response to hearing Culture Club on the radio nowadays is giddy excitement. Such frothy musical entertainment! What a beat! And those pasty-faced, Smoky Robinson Lite vocals! You would have to be a MONSTER to want to hurt crooning milksop B.G., even if he did seem dead set on hurting both himself and others during a decades-long Lost Weekend that saw him assaulting innocent Norwegians, abusing every drug under the sun, and doing a skirt-hem-dirtying stint of community service at the New York City Department of Sanitation.

But let’s not allow Boy George’s very public personal problems cloud Culture Club’s myriad contributions to Western Civilization, which are convincingly set out on 1987 best-of compilation This Time–The First Four Years. It has all the hits! And all the hits Culture Club wish had been hits! Including “The War Song,” in which everybody’s favorite cross-dressing misanthrope writes off the human race with the words “People are stupid”! How did that one not climb to the Top of the Pops?

Culture Club specialized in lightweight pop confections composed of equal parts New Wave and blue-eyed soul; they avoided the frigid constraints of synth-pop and by so doing succeeded in emanating real warmth, even if was of the D. Bowie “plastic soul” variety. Just listen to the crooning on “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me.” Boy George sucks you in before the band even kicks in and he never lets up. And the rest of the band has the good sense to let his vocals stand front and center throughout. Doesn’t hurt, either, that the melody is one in a million.

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