Monthly Archives: November 2018

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Let’s face it, as a year, 2018 fucking sucked. Even music felt shadowed by dark politicians, mobile devices, video games, and apps. What’s an Idelic dude gonna do?

Well, basically rock the fuck on!

Over these next two weeks I’ll be playing 50 of my favorite songs of 2018. Compiling and listening my annual list has put a smile on my week. My hope is that it will do the same for you.

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TVD Live Shots: Khruangbin at The
Vic Theatre, 11/28

Khruangbin is my new favorite band whose name I still don’t know how to pronounce.

I know how to spell it, and I know that it’s a Thai word that translates to “airplane,” but the proper pronunciation continues to elude me. Name drama aside, this is a band that I can get behind, mainly because, well, they’re awesome! The Houston trio brought their groovy, psychedelic, instrumental world music to a sold-out crowd at The Vic Wednesday night.

Witnessing their unique sound coming to life in a live setting made it apparent to me that Khruangbin is more than just a band: they’re a mood. A sexy, funky, soulful mood. Everyone—from those near the stage to those up in the balcony—was vibing. Catch them as they finish up their U.S. tour in support of their latest release, Con Todo El Mundo, before heading to Europe to kick off 2019.

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TVD Radar: Richie Ramone: I Know Better Now, My Life Before, During, and After the Ramones in stores 12/11

VIA PRESS RELEASEIn 1982, the Ramones were in a gutter-bound spiral. Following a run of inconsistent albums and deep in the throes of internal tensions, the legendary quartet was about to crash and burn. Then came Richie Ramone—the 26-year-old from Jersey who instantly revitalized the pioneering outfit with his powerful, precise, and blindingly fast beats.

We’ve heard Joey’s story and Dee Dee’s, Johnny’s, Marky’s, and even Monte Melnick’s story, the band’s intrepid road manager. The mysterious Richie Ramone has been the missing link—until now. In I Know Better Now: My Life Before, During, and After the Ramones (Backbeat Books Hardcover; December 11, 2018 $29.99) Richie shares a deeply personal account of his life with one of the most influential punk rock bands of the 1980s.

When the Ramones discovered him, his name was Richard Reinhardt. They snapped him up to be their new drummer. Overnight, Richie went from the obscurity of the underground club scene to becoming a “brother” in the most famous punk-rock band of all time. Joey Ramone, himself, credited Richie for saving the band. Richie composed classic cuts like the menacing anthem “Somebody Put Something in My Drink” and was the only Ramones percussionist to sing lead vocals for the group. With the Ramones, he performed over five hundred shows at venues all around the world and recorded three massive studio albums before abruptly quitting the band and going deep underground.

“During the time I was in the Ramones, Joey and I were really close,” says Richie. “On and offstage, we were inseparable pretty much the whole time. We drank together, got high together, worked on songs together, went bowling together, and laughed together. Joey was a great singer, but he was also a great guy with a really big heart, and we were really good friends. I really miss that guy. A lot.”

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Demand it on Vinyl: Grateful Dead, Road Trips Vol. 3 No. 4 – Penn State/ Cornell ’80 in stores 1/25

VIA PRESS RELEASERoad Trips Vol. 3 No. 4 offers an indispensable sample of the band during the early phase of Brent Mydland’s tenure as the band’s keyboardist, right after the release of the Go to Heaven album.

Beautifully recorded by Dan Healy and mastered by Jeffrey Norman, the 3-CD set mixes the first sets of the May 6, 1980 show at Penn State’s Recreation Hall and the May 7 show at Cornell’s Barton Hall (or “Playing in the barn,” as gleefully sang by Bob Weir in tribute to the venue; also the site of their famed 1977 show) on Disc One, and presents the complete May 6 second set on Disc Two and the complete May 7 second set (save for a few moments of “Rhythm Devils” and “Space”) on Disc Three.

Strong vocals and performances abound on both nights, particularly on “He’s Gone” and “Wharf Rat” from Penn State and “Jack Straw” and “Cassidy” from Barton Hall. But the highlight just might be the Penn State set two opener pairing of “China Cat Sunflower” and “I Know You Rider,” two songs the Dead had by this point been playing for over a decade but given extra verve here.

Liner notes by Blair Jackson round out a very satisfying document of what turned out to be one of the Dead’s most versatile and consistent line-ups. Never before available at retail.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Association,
Just The Right Sound: The Association Anthology

The Association didn’t exactly win friends and influence hippies with their square-john antics in the mid- to late sixties; they may have been the first band to perform at the 1967 Monterey Pop Festival, but most of your smirking counter-culture types considered them about as authentic as a cheap plastic peace symbol.

But hey–as that great philosopher Huey Lewis pointed out it’s hip to be square, and all of your REAL swinging girls and boys know The Association are the Nazz. So what if they flunked the Acid Test and would have been more at home at Tricia Nixon’s wedding than a Human Be-In? The Association rose above it all, producing a rapturous dream pop that Tricky Dick himself might have tapped a toe to.

And you can hear The Association in all their vocal glory on the 2018’s Anthology: Just the Right Sound. Its 51 songs are a definite case of overkill–and I’ve docked it a half-grade accordingly–but it’s worth the purchase price (and more!) if you want to hear not only the songs that melted your heart but such berserker numbers as “Pandora’s Golden Heebie Jeebies,” to say nothing of a couple of cuts off 1972’s justifiably neglected Waterbeds in Trinidad!

Just about everybody knows their big ones. “Windy” is a sunshine pop classic about a girl with stormy eyes; its opening guitar riff and superlush vocals are for the ages, and I die a little every time I hear that flute. And then there’s the motorvatin’ “Along Came Mary,” with its handclaps and badass (by Association standards) vocals. And who could forget the moon-eyed “Cherish,” which makes the perfect mate for the lovely “Never My Love,” both of which say I’m going to love you forever by means of those perfectly pureed vocals that were The Association’s bread and butter.

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In rotation: 11/30/18

Bleecker Bob has died: Robert Plotnik, the titular owner of NYC’s iconic Village record store Bleecker Bob’s, has died. The sad news was confirmed by his longtime partner, Jennifer Kitzer. Bob had been in declining health for some time after suffering a stroke in 2001. The store stayed open till 2013. NYC/Brooklyn store Academy Records offering up this tribute: RIP to Bleecker Bob, a true legend on the NYC record store scene and probably the most singular character among that very idiosyncratic bunch. I first got to know Bob and his wise cracking sarcasm as a teenager in the late 70s as I soiled my fingers flipping through his grimy reused record sleeves. I also quickly learned that he loved an equal dose of sarcasm in return and our interactions were some of my first tastes of what it meant to be a real New Yorker. When I first opened my store in 2001 it was a real badge of honor when he came to check it out and told me it didn’t suck too bad. Catch ya on the B side

Denver, CO | Looking Back On 40 Years Of Wax Trax, Denver’s Vinyl Record Mecca: Sometimes it still feels like 1978 inside Denver’s Wax Trax Records. Maybe it’s the creaky wood floors, or the ever-present soundtrack of ‘70s-era underground rock that plays through the store’s speakers. But a big part of that preserved-in-time feeling probably comes from the owners, Dave Stidman and Duane Davis. If they’re not in the corner CD store of Wax Trax, then it’s a safe bet you can find them two doors down restocking the endless stacks of new and used vinyl. It’s been 40 years since Stidman and Davis took over, and that time comes with a lot of colorful stories from a seedier time in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. “We got into the corner store in 1978 and we got this space probably early ‘80s. It had been a woman who had a needle-craft store,” Davis said, standing among rows and rows of vinyl albums.

The best turntables of 2018: …There were a number of themes running through this year’s turntable designs. Firstly, the flush of excitement around vinyl in the turntable market in last five years has given way to specialist tools for niche customers. As a result, manufacturers are increasingly including semi- and automatic functions on their decks for record buyers who would not consider themselves ‘audiophiles’. Across the hi-fi industry, the tendency towards all-in-one models – where additional elements like amplifiers and bluetooth are packed into the turntable chassis – is an example of brands catering for more flexible forms of listening. On the other side of the coin, there are increasing numbers of interesting designs on offer for the audiophile listener with sound quality and innovation coming to the fore.

7 times Marvel superheroes appeared on record covers. The stories behind the strange collision of two iconic but (usually) separate worlds. Recently, Marvel honoured the world of hip-hop by recreating some of the industry’s most iconic album covers with their own superheroes substituted in. The variant covers appeared on Marvel’s comics and proved so popular that the publisher even released a two-volume collection of just the album artwork. But Marvel’s characters have appeared on record covers before, and often for stranger reasons than you might expect. Here are a few famous (and not-so-famous) examples that you may or may not be aware of

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TVD Radar: The Warriors 2-LP OST
in stores now

VIA PRESS RELEASEWaxwork Records is excited to announce the long-awaited re-pressing of The Warriors. This deluxe double LP features the re-mastered 1979 original soundtrack, in addition to the vinyl debut of the complete film score by Barry DeVorzon.

Directed by Walter Hill and based off of the 1965 novel by Sol Yurick of the same name, The Warriors is the absolute definition of an influential cult-classic film. The Warriors has permeated the landscape of pop culture, music, film, fashion, comics, and video games. Waxwork worked directly from the original master tapes of both the original 1979 soundtrack and film score to bring audiences a brand new transfer of every musical cue heard in the movie, for the very first time on vinyl.

Features artwork by Marvel Comics artist Dave Rapoza, Double LP 180 gram “Warriors” red and brown vinyl, 180 gram “Boppers” purple vinyl, printed insert, and deluxe packaging.

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Vijay Iyer brings Far From Over to the CAC for two nights, 11/30–12/1

The acclaimed jazz pianist Vijay Iyer last played in New Orleans at the Contemporary Arts Center in 2015, with an improvisational trio featuring saxophonist Steve Lehman and drummer/multi-instrumentalist Tyshawn Sorey. That gig was in the theater as part of the HIP Fest. I wrote about it here. On Friday and Saturday Iyer returns with his regular sextet to play two nights in the recently renovated warehouse space at the CAC. They should both be gigs for the record books.

Iyer is a polymath who has his foot in many different disciplines and is one of the most important young jazz artists on the scene today. His latest album, Far From Over, hit #1 on the Billboard jazz chart. He has been voted DownBeat magazine’s “Artist of the Year” four times—in 2018, 2016, 2015, and 2012—and “Artist of the Year” in Jazz Times‘ Critics’ and Readers’ Polls for 2018.

Needless to say these performances are special for jazz lovers and for the New Orleans music community in general. Though it’s rare for a performer of his stature, he’s one of the youngest artists to receive a McArthur Fellowship (the so-called “genius grant”), to play in New Orleans outside of the Jazz Festival, the CAC has been aggressively booking cutting edge jazz talent for the last couple of years. The same space hosted New Orleans’ own trumpeter Christian Scott and pan-Latin jazz saxophonist Miguel Zenón.

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Ciaran Lavery,
The TVD First Date

“The first time I held a record in my hands I was younger than 8 years old, but no less than that.”

“I had travelled with my dad to see my uncle Paul and his old shaggy dog Shane, who I believed to be part dog, part human, as was his nature to seem so wise and all-knowing. I was standing in the middle of what was the living room on a carpet that looked as old and world-weary as Shane, but had a surprisingly springy feeling underfoot. I remember vibrant colours of red and egg yolk yellow and a truly unique pattern that ran consistently from the centre of the room, sprawling to each corner in designs that I could make no sense of, but figured such understanding of tastes were outside of my lesser learned child brain. Perhaps I would choose a carpet exactly like this one if I were a fully formed adult; I could only assume.

My uncle Paul reached over and handed me this square, card like material as I stood shipwrecked in the middle of the room, and unknowingly I was holding my very first vinyl. It was white with an elaborate design and I treated it as you would some ancient antique, my mind exploding with the visual feast in front of me. I kept turning the record in my hands, from front to back and repeating the process, keen to take in every detail.

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Graded on a Curve:
New in Stores,
November 2018,
Part Six

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

NEW RELEASE PICKS: Oren Ambarchi & Jim O’Rourke, Hence (Editions Mego) Ambarchi and O’Rourke have two prior collabs; well, three if you count 2012’s Imikuzushi with Japanese avant-guitar titan Keiji Haino. And counting that one kinda makes sense, as this new one features the guest tabla mastery of Japan’s U-zhaan. Along with the drum, there’s synthesizer and guitar, and the whole can be aptly tagged as electroacoustic. Hence offers two long pieces, with the level of abstraction quite high, but the cumulative effect is welcoming rather than rigorous. It even fits to call big portions of this downright comforting, particularly on side two, where I was reminded a bit of rainforest New Age. However, this ambiance gets imbued with mysteriousness that’s distinct and ultimately quite pleasing. A-

Owen Lake and the Tragic Loves, The Best of Your Lies (Carrier) This set of “electro-country” from a NYC project pseudonymously led by noteworthy contempo avant-composer Jeff Snyder might read like an imminent disaster, but the blending of techno-pop with honky-tonk and Countrypolitan (all covers save for two solid ones co-written by Snyder and fiddle-harmony vocalist Anica Mrose Rissi) starts out as potentially egregious, then impresses as sincere, moves on to admirable, and with accumulated spins connects as a surprisingly successful legit fusion rather than just an experiment that didn’t fall apart. To be sure, a Carter Family song with vocoder vocals might rile some tempers, but the execution is far preferable to an umpteenth well-mannered (to the point of blandness) Americana version. Believe it. A-

REISSUE/ARCHIVAL PICKS: Dock Boggs, Legendary Singer and Banjo Player (Smithsonian Folkways) While I agree that Dock Boggs’ greatest stuff was cut for Brunswick in ’27, this album still holds a special allure. Boggs had just been rediscovered by Mike Seeger (who contributes illuminating liners here) and by extension the audience at the American Folk Festival, where some of this set was recorded. As the disc unwinds, knowledge of the circumstances leading to its recording enhance the aura of Boggs’ reengaging with, and in a sense rediscovering his own music, as well; he’d reportedly repurchased a banjo shortly before meeting Seeger for the first time. But don’t think Boggs is tentative in his delivery across these 15 songs. As intense as he was in ’27? No. This is a document of an older and wiser man. A

V/A, American Banjo – Tunes and Songs in Scruggs Style (Smithsonian Folkways) Smithsonian Folkways has been celebrating their 70th anniversary by reissuing some choice titles from the vast catalog on vinyl, and the theme of the latest batch is the banjo. This includes Dock Boggs above and two releases below, plus this 1957 collection documenting the three-finger technique developed by Earl Scruggs and popularized roughly a decade before, first in the band of Bill Monroe and shortly after in his own group co-led with guitarist Lester Flatt. In short, it’s bluegrass baseline. Earl doesn’t play on this LP, but his older brother Junie does, along with Roni Stoneman, Snuffy and Oren Jenkins, J.C. Sutphin, Smiley Hobbs, Kenny Miller, and Mike Seeger, who also recorded and produced. It all sounds splendid. A

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In rotation: 11/29/18

Bensonhurst, NY | Bensonhurst record store still selling Italian goods over 50 years later: A Bensonhurst record store is going strong after over 50 years of keeping Brooklyn residents in touch with their Italian heritage. SAS Italian Records opened in 1967 and houses more than 3,000 CDs and other items. Owner Silvana Conte says the store was the first Italian importer of some items they sell like sportswear, magazines and Italian DVDs. Residents used to flock to the store to see Italian celebrities. “Little Tony was like the Italian Elvis. So they announced on the radio that he was coming and everybody and their grandmother was here,” says Conte. “The store was packed, people didn’t want to lose their spots so they peed on the floor … all the singers used to come from Italy and they would sign autographs and it was really great.”

Bexhill, UK | Much-loved Bexhill record store will re-open in new location: A well-loved record shop which closed down earlier this year is set to re-open inside the De La Warr Pavilion. Music’s Not Dead held a wake event on Sunday (September 16) where scores of musicians came to play live music and show their support, before it closed the doors of its Devonshire Road home for the final time. However, the popular independent retailer will get a new lease of life inside the De La Warr, from next month. Music’s Not Dead (MND) will re-open as a ‘pop-up’ on Friday, December 7, in the Café Bar on the first floor. Maybe It’s Time To Talk About Retirement Planning Have you given any thought to where your retirement income will be coming from? Sponsored by Prudential It will be open seven days a week from 10am to 5pm, and on gig nights selling a wide range of vinyl/labels covering all music tastes.

Nashville, TN | Record store building on east side faces demo: …The address of the Fond Object property is 1313 McGavock Pike, with the quirky record store having served as a community space of sorts since it opened in 2013. Metro Councilmember Anthony Davis, in whose District 7 the property sits, posted the following on the Inglewood-Nashville Facebook page: “I only can pass along what the owners told me. They would likely soon tear down the McGavock building, design and at some point build a new three-story building on McGavock, with either retail ground floor and apartments above, or all apartments.” That three-story building, if it materializes, would replace the one-story structure housing Fond Object and the homes to the north.

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TVD Live Shots:
P.O.D. and Nonpoint at Observatory Orange County, 11/20

Fans of all ages descended upon Orange County for P.O.D. and Nonpoint’s third and final stop in Southern California, and by all fan accounts the show was one of their best combined performances on tour this year.

From circle pits to crowd surfing and everything in between, those in attendance got their money’s worth as these two “nu-metal” heavyweights took the stage on a Tuesday night. Both band’s performances were raw, inspired, and seemed to transport their fans back to a time and place when all that mattered was the music. For me, that takes it to a whole new level and separates “good” live bands from “great” ones. These bands were the latter.

For those who have followed Nonpoint over the years, it should be no surprise that Tuesday’s show opening for P.O.D. would be one for the ages. The band, consisting of Elias Soriano (vocals), Robb Rivera (drums), Rasheed Thomas (rhythm guitar), Adam Woloszyn (bass), and BC Kochmit (lead guitar) left it all on the stage with an incredible 45-minute set in front of a near-capacity crowd.

Those in attendance were treated to Nonpoint classics such as “What a Day,” “Breaking Skin,” and “Bullet with a Name.” And if those were not enough, fans got to hear some killer tracks off their 2018 release, X, including “Chaos and Earthquakes” and “Dodge Your Destiny.” Both songs are amazing and even more powerful when performed by this group of killer technicians. If you have not picked up this album, do so. It simply rocks from beginning to end.

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TVD Radar: Springsteen on Broadway 4-LP OST in stores 12/14

VIA PRESS RELEASEColumbia Records will release the Springsteen On Broadway soundtrack album on 14th December, featuring the songs and stories from Tony Award winner Bruce Springsteen’s historic 236-show run at Jujamcyn’s Walter Kerr Theatre. Consisting of the complete audio from the upcoming Springsteen On Broadway Netflix release, the soundtrack album will be available on 4 LPs or 2 CDs as well as a digital download and on streaming services.

Based on his worldwide best-selling autobiography Born to Run, Springsteen on Broadway is a unique evening with Bruce, his guitar, a piano, and his very personal stories. On the Springsteen On Broadway soundtrack album, each of these stories appears as its own track, labeled as an “introduction” to the song it precedes. The audio for Springsteen on Broadway was mixed by the legendary Bob Clearmountain and mastered by the acclaimed Bob Ludwig.

Springsteen on Broadway began previews on 3rd October 2017 and the completely sold-out series of performances officially opened 12th October. The show was extended three times after its initial eight-week run, and will close on Broadway on 15th December. Springsteen on Broadway will launch on Netflix globally on 16th December 8:01 AM GMT.

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Graded on a Curve:
Roger Daltrey,
Ride a Rock Horse

Talk about your Trojan Horses; that cover, with Roger the Rock Centaur on it, may look like a gift, but bring this baby into your house and I guarantee it will stink up your living room.

1975’s Ride a Rock Horse is a spavined affair; Daltrey is less half horse than half flounder. And it makes clear one thing; Daltrey, no songwriter himself, is a great interpreter of other people’s songs so long as those other people is Pete Townshend.

Townshend wrote his Who songs with Daltrey in mind; Roger was just another weapon in Pete’s musical armamentarium, and a damn good one at that. But take Daltrey away from Townshend and he sounds at loose ends.

If you’re going to be a great interpreter you’d better know how to pick ‘em, and things might have been different had Daltrey taken the Joe Cocker route and set himself to the task of interpreting great songs. Instead he opted for a very lackluster bunch of tunes (by the immortal likes of Russ Ballard, Paul Korda, etc.) and tried to breathe life into him with his rock historic tonsils. I suspect hubris was to blame, but the strain of artificial resuscitation is evident on just about every song on Ride a Rock Horse.

And it’s not like Daltrey bothered to assemble a crack bunch of musicians to back him up, either. A few of the musicians credited ring faint bells in my head, but this is anything but a Roger Daltrey and Famous Friends affair. Hell, what good is it to be a Rock God if you can’t call in a few favors?

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TVD Video Premiere: Katie Barbato,
“Magical Ending”

“I wrote ‘Magical Ending’ about the search for happiness in life and what it means to me. After taking a hard look at myself and the world around me, I realized that it is not this fairytale ending I was searching for. I was looking for the moment I would arrive, and found that it is in the journey where my greatest joy comes from. There is a small light even in the darkness and that is my love I keep giving to the world. I can go on pretending and ignoring who I really am or I can realize that the magic is all around me now.”
Katie Barbato

Katie Barbato is always surprising us with her whimsical folk rock reveries. There seems to be a never-ending fount of sophisticated, melodic riches to be discovered on her newest EP, “The Art of Falling,” and we love how unselfconscious, bizarre, and vibrant her new music video is.

“It was fun to conceptualize themes related to magic that appear in fairy tales and mythology—but give them a tacky, cheesy, violent, and playful green-screen twist. The style of the video and the style of the song are somewhat incongruent, which is what Katie wanted, so it was fun to work within that paradigm,” the video’s director Max Margulies tells TVD.

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