Author Archives: Alexandra Lee

Columbia Records to release new Miles Davis tribute LP, Everything’s Beautiful

On May 26, the legendary Miles Davis would have turned 90 years old. To commemorate his birthday, Columbia/ Legacy will release Everything’s Beautiful May 27, smartly crafted collection of songs produced by Robert Glasper. The record blends a diverse group of master takes and outtakes from across Davis’ Columbia catalog with an impressive lineup of contemporary artists and musicians to create original interpretations.

“I didn’t want to do just a remix record,” Glasper noted when discussing the 11-song set. “My idea was to show how Miles inspired people to make new art.”

Realizing that “Miles didn’t have one audience,” Glasper recruited a legion of guest artists to add to the magic of the project including familiar collaborators like R&B musicians Erykah Badu, Ledisi, Bilal, and KING. They are joined by British soul singer-songwriter Laura Mvula, hip-hop producer Rashad Smith, Grammy-nominated Australian neo-soul quartet Hiatus Kaiyote, rapper/ singer Phonte, rapper/ producer Illa J, jazz guitarist John Scofield who was in Miles Davis’ band, and the legendary Stevie Wonder.

“I am living in the spirit of Miles when I am doing what I’m doing because I am documenting my time period. I’m documenting what’s around me. I’m documenting who I am now, where music is now,” notes Glasper.

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TVD Live: ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO

The 11th Annual ASCAP “I Create Music” EXPO kicked off last weekend at the Loews Hollywood Hotel in Los Angeles. The event opened with ASCAP’s Annual Membership Meeting featuring an introductory performance by OMI, singing his worldwide chart-topping hit, “Cheerleader.”

President and award-winning songwriter Paul Williams also spoke about being a songwriter, and ASCAP’s role in improving songwriters’ livelihoods through Capitol Hill advocacy, while ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews shared the news of ASCAP’s crazy $1 billion plus revenue.

EVP Membership John Titta hosted two stellar performances and short discussions—first with the songwriting power trio of Chris DeStefano, Brett James, and Priscilla Renea performing their hit “Somethin’ Bad” (Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood), written at an ASCAP SongCamp.

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TVD Live: Laurence Juber at Stax of Wax Records, 4/24

Last Sunday, April 24th, the two-time Grammy winner and lead guitarist for Paul McCartney’s Wings, Laurence Juber performed a solo acoustic set at Malibu’s new all-vinyl record shop, Stax of Wax.

The store itself is definitely worth checking out for vinyl afficianados- and is Malibu’s only vinyl shop! Curated by Sig Sigworth, Concord’s Senior VP of Catalog Management & Development, the store carries over 900 titles, including new releases, reissues, and box sets in a wide range of genres, as well as t-shirts and books. Juber himself also had copies of his last full length vinyl LP for sale—the moody masterpiece Under an Indigo Sky, released in 2013 on Solid Air Records, featuring a mix of classic pop/jazz standards.

Juber’s performance among the laid-back vibe of the beautifully arranged record shop was both intimate and virtuosic, a rare treat for guitar god fans and music lovers alike. Juber was voted the “Fingerstyle Guitarist Of The Year,” with the China Post calling him “one of the world’s most remarkable acoustic guitarists,” and he certainly lived up to the hype.

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TVD Live: Jazmine Sullivan at ASCAP’s
Pre-Grammy Party, 2/12

PHOTOS: LESTER COHEN/GETTY IMAGES FOR ASCAP | Last Friday, February 12th, Grammy nominee Jazmine Sullivan gave an intimate, stripped back acoustic performance at ASCAP’s annual cocktail party soiree at the Bevery Hills SLS Hotel. Jazmine was up for a trifecta of R&B Grammys this year: Best Traditional R&B performance, Best R&B Song, and Best R&B album.

The event celebrated the 300+ ASCAP members who were nominated for Grammys this year—and featured a star-studded turnout, including Grammy-nominated artists and songwriters Flying Lotus, Gene Simmons, Richie Sambora, Orianthi, Dave Bassett (“Ex’s & Oh’s”), and more.

Though Jazmine did not win any Grammys at “Music’s Biggest Night” this year, she treated guests to a smoldering selection of tunes from her latest album, Reality Show. Standouts included a soulful and sleek rendition of the straight-forward love song “Let it Burn,” which was up for Best R&B song. On record, the track samples Kenny “Babyface” Edmonds’ “Ready Or Not,” but live the number showcased Jazmine’s gospel influenced rapid runs that were often punctuated with breathy, deep voiced alto pauses.

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NAMM-in’ it up, 2016

It was that time again: time to dust off the leather jacket and the ear plugs to make the pilgrimage to gear Valhalla—NAMM, the annual cacophonous convention celebrating and showcasing the music industry’s latest wares—everything from your standard rock accoutrements of electric guitars, basses, drums, amps, cables, and mics… to the wild and weird, including bouzoukis, accordions, and synthesizers surrounded by succulents.

By synthesizers surrounded by succulents, I really just mean the Moog booth. The Bob Moog Foundation had a killer selection of vintage modular synths and rare prototypes on display, including an original 1967 RA Moog modular and an Aries modular synthesizer.

It was basically like the hippest Echo Park succulent AND synthesizer aficionado invited you into their apartment to scope their rare gear collection among desert decor.

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Needle Drop: The Bixby Knolls, “Tomorrow Never Comes” EP

“Tomorrow Never Comes” is the latest offering from Los Angeles based quartet, The Bixby Knolls. The four song EP was recorded and mixed at Station House Studios in Echo Park, CA between December 2013 and January 2014. Although their debut album, Near & Undear was a collection of songs written over a 5 year period while the band’s line-up took form, “Tomorrow Never Comes” was written mostly within a year and captures a mood and sound in a compressed period of time.

“Although we feel the tunes still express the raw melodies and energy as the first album, there’s a more sinister overtone to these four tracks,” says singer and guitarist for the group, Curt Barlage.

“Juvenile Heart Crime,” the opening track, was originally written for a side project of Barlage’s–with the original demo being more of an electronic style recording. Those electronic elements were taken into consideration whilst recorded by The Knolls–with the sequenced synth sounds replaced by acoustic instruments and live-playing to give it more of an organic and dynamic feeling.

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TVD Recommends Alexandra & The Starlight Band at the Record Parlour, 4/19

Alexandra & The Starlight Band will be playing a private party this Saturday, 4/19 to celebrate Record Store Day at the Record Parlour in Hollywood, CA from 1-5pm!

Come sip on some free drinks (including a specialty Starlight Band glitter cocktail), grab a free bite to eat and groove out to the rock ‘n’ roll soul of the Starlight Band.

The Starlight Band will also be giving away 3 copies of their rare, SOLD OUT collectable rainbow glitter 7″s and art prints of the limited edition show poster by Australian artist Nicholas Potts (pictured above) throughout the day!

Strict RSVP required, but check out the official media invite below the jump to get the inside details, just for Vinyl District readers! Happy Record Store Day!

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NAMM, bam,
thank you ma’am!

This last weekend, Zachary James, guitar player Stevie Campos (of the Starlight Band) and I checked out the 2014 NAMM show—one of the world’s largest trade-only business shows.

It’s basically Disneyland for gearheads and signature guitar dudes in Anaheim, which is where Disneyland is.

On a random side note, we met Fred Armisen chillin’ and fillin’ at our local Silverlake gas station on the way there! Nice! Stevie thought it was so nice, he gave it two thumbs up. I just wanted to share that.

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TVD at the CMJ Music Marathon 2013: Our picks for your live dollar

Wherein TVD’s LA family, Alexandra Starlight and Zachary James, head East with a head of steam (and stars) and offer their picks for the bands you should be up front and centered for. —Ed.

“Ahhh, CMJ—our annual excuse to visit the Big Apple (as no local New Yorkers actually call it.) For those of you who’ve never been, the CMJ Music Marathon is one of the world’s “most important platforms for the discovery of new music.” From October 15th–19th, CMJ will feature over 1,400 live performances in more than 80 of NYC’s concert venues.

Their latest artist announcement include heavyweight artists Talib Kwali, Father John Misty, Alberta Cross, and more. You can read their latest announcement here. I’ve compiled the top three bands I’m looking forward to checking out this year.” Alexandra Starlight

NICK WATERHOUSENick Waterhouse creates throwback ’50s vintage American-inspired R&B so period-correct there is clearly black magick involved with his recordings.

New Orleans cursed black chicken feet, baked BBQ gorilla ribs, and some mosquito pie. There’s somethin’ wrong with you, Nick Waterhouse.

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TVD Recommends: Desert Stars Festival in Pioneertown, 9/6–9/7 (And it’s free!)

On September 6th and 7th, the inaugural Desert Stars Festival (formerly billed under the Clean Air, Clean Stars moniker) is set to take over legendary honky-tonk Pappy & Harriet’s in Joshua Tree, CA.

Carrying on the tradition of rockers escaping the smoggy Los Angeles skyline in search of solace, stars, whiskey in jars, and (in the case of Gram Parsons and Keith Richards) the occasional UFO sighting, the festival compiles some of today’s best psych, rock, and country acts around.

Our picks: David J, of Bauhaus/ Love & Rockets backed by the concert promoter’s full band, Sky Parade (who will also performing the festival), and Zachary James & the All Seeing Eyes, whose cosmic affection for interstellar glam/ punk/ rock ‘n’ roll will find a perfect setting under the stars.

The best part? The entire festival is FREE.

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TVD’s at the ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, 4/18

Thursday, April 18th The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) kicked off their 8th annual ASCAP “I Create Music” Expo, at the Loews Hollywood Hotel (formerly known as the Renaissance Hollywood Hotel) in Los Angeles, CA. Spanning 4 days, the event is the first and only national conference dedicated to songwriters and composers.

We started the day of panels with a bang (or should I say “Fireworks”) with California Girl and pop sensation keynote Katy Perry, who spoke with ASCAP EVP of Membership, Randy Grimmett. During the interview, Perry revealed she’ll be working hit producers Max Martin, Dr. Luke, and Greg Wells. She gave insight to her writing process, including a patented “word vomit” method:

“[Greg Wells] allows me to vomit words. Not that I can’t find that with others, but he just lets me [makes vomiting sound].”

She went on to say: “Max and Luke push me the most. As a team we have certain strengths. With Max, it’s melody choices, Luke is production, and I’m topline and melody.”

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TVD Live: 72andSunny presents Sound City with DIIV and Dead Sara, 4/5

On Friday April 5th, innovative advertising agency 72andSunny proved they had their finger on the pulse by hosting an outdoor screening of Dave Grohl’s documentary Sound City and concert—featuring New York’s atmospheric indie rock band DIIV and Los Angeles’ own alternative darlings Dead Sara— co-curated by Dave.

Fittingly, the date coincided with the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death, and the subtext of the night was a leather-clad, tattered jean, unwashed, amplified tribute to the legacy of grunge and its quintessential frontman. During his performance, lead singer and guitarist of DIIV, Zachary Cole Smith acknowledged from behind his reminiscent blonde locks and baggy garb that he was inspired to start the band after reading Cobain’s biography 2 years ago.

Hosted at 72andSunny’s unique new space (and interestingly, businessman/ film maker/ aviator Howard Hughes’ former offices) on the Hercules Campus in Playa Vista, the event the event carried a laid back festival vibe—Coachella extra light if you will—and a fitting precursor to the summer’s best outdoor art and music events.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Alexandra & The Starlight Band Heart and Arrow 7″!

Alexandra Starlight  here, answering the call of love & announcing a special TVD giveaway of my heart and arrow shaped red vinyl 7″ which releases TODAY!

I’m really exited to announce my brand new 7″, featuring two brand new singles about love, “Love Like Fire” and “Love Ain’t Easy” written in collaboration & produced by my main man, Zachary James!

These records are hand-made here in Los Angeles, produced in collaboration with my favorite record company Erika Records. As far as we know, Erika Records is the ONLY company that creates heart shaped vinyl with an arrow. These are actually 12″ records that are specially die cut into the shaped vinyl!

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A dizzying pentatonic swirl of white noise: TVD takes in NAMM

The ringing in my ears from endless shredding, electronic drum pad fandangling, jazz fluting, and the brittle whooshing of hairsprayed rock locks ever so softly flapping against leather-studded trenchcoats in the breezeless Anaheim Convention Center is finally subsiding—so it must be time to recap …NAMM!

Considering there were 93,908 registrants for 2013 NAMM, held over four days from January 24 to 27, it was a dizzying pentatonic swirl of white noise, Whitesnake, and stage snakes.

So, I’m breaking my NAMM recap into sections: Stonehenge (ancient and mystical monuments), Tech Talk (gadgets and wizardry debuted at NAMM 2013 that musicians will hopefully find useful), Party Time! (fun stuff at NAMM), and You Go Girl! (repping women in music).

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TVD Live: Prince,
Secret Show at The Sayer’s Club, 10/25

Last Thursday night, at an intimate gathering of just 200 at The Sayer’s Club in Hollywood, Prince proved that he truly is king.

The anticipation was palpable pre-show, while celebrities like Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart, and Minka Kelly mingled in the crowd amongst members of Prince’s band.

The late-night performance kicked off with Cameroonian artist and Prince protege Andy Allo taking center stage. She performed her new single “People Pleaser,” the single off her upcoming album Superconductor, executively produced by Prince. The track had everything you’d want and expect out of a Prince track: a super-funky, wah-laden guitar hook, killer horn lines, and an undeniable soul groove. Mid-song, Prince’s 11-piece horn section flooded center stage, really kicking it out with their stomping, swaying, and undeniable playing. Prince jammed on guitar at the side of the stage.

When the first song was over, Prince took center stage. Alhough he (and the rest of the band, in fact) wasn’t dressed in typical over-the-top fringe and metallic stagewear, he was still funky in black bells, a grey sweater and heels—commanding the attention of every person in the house and lending a more intimate vibe to the performance.

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