Author Archives: Evan Toth

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 98: Tchotchke

Even minimalists have a few knick-knacks tucked away, small objects that aren’t particularly useful, but which remind us of a warm memory, time, or place. When purging or decluttering, a lazy gaze at this bric-a-brac makes us wonder if we’re being too hasty considering parting with the item. But before we harshly “Marie Kondo” these objects, it’s essential that we check to see if they “spark joy,” for if they do, we can be certain that it will always have a place in our heart and our home. We all have tchotchkes.

But is Tchotchke—the band—on your shelf yet? If you collect music with girl group vibes or female fronted bands of the ’60s and ’70s, then New York’s Tchotchke is sure to make it to your library. The band has a brand-new self-titled album out now (Tchotchke Records/ORG Music) which was produced by the D’Addario Brothers from The Lemon Twigs and was mixed at the famed Electric Lady Studios in New York City. Musically, however, the group stretches themselves beyond guitar rock’s confines and even flirts with some proggy influences along the way. This first album is familiar enough to assure quick assimilation, but repeated listenings reveal a band equipped with the tools and talent to grow into something extraordinary.

Anastasia (drums, vocals), Eva (bass, vocals), and Emily (guitar, vocals) join me on this episode to discuss the ghosts who may have visited them during the recording process, the assembly of the album, preparing for an upcoming tour with King Tuff, and what songs are on their shared band playlist. You might declutter your record collection in years to come, but when you arrive at Tchotchke’s latest record, you’ll find it hard to part with. It did, after all, provide you with fun, warm sun-drenched memories. It’s a memento of that experience. How could you let it go? It’s sure to become a part of your permanent collection of tchotchkes.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 97: Rachael & Vilray

PHOTO: JONNO RATTMAN | There is an intrinsic grandeur to the Great American Songbook that we can all appreciate. When the first few bars of those classics begin they can boost our spirit, provide us with a moment of quiet contemplation, or even make us a little bit misty.

For those reasons, the compositions are timeless. However, they do indeed emanate from a specific time and place, one that is far away from the one in which we now live. The classic standards will always remain eternal and most people can enjoy them; after all, that is the whole idea behind being a “standard” in the first place. However, listeners also yearn to hear music from their own eras. While grandma and grandpa—or, great-grandma and great-grandpa—might remember when those songs were new, we often digest that music through their lens, not ours.

Rachael and Vilray have crafted for us a new catalog of music that belongs to the 21st century, but it’s also music that our ancestors—those who remember the release of the original standards—would also appreciate. Rachael Price, vocalist from Lake Street Dive, and Vilray met one another while attending the New England Conservatory and reconnected years later when Rachael caught one of Vilray’s sets where he was performing his own compositions that hearkened back to those great old standards but were completely new. When Rachael heard his treasure trove of tunes, she knew she wanted to be a part of sharing them with a wider audience.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 97: Rachael & Vilray

PHOTO: JONNO RATTMAN | There is an intrinsic grandeur to the Great American Songbook that we can all appreciate. When the first few bars of those classics begin they can boost our spirit, provide us with a moment of quiet contemplation, or even make us a little bit misty.

For those reasons, the compositions are timeless. However, they do indeed emanate from a specific time and place, one that is far away from the one in which we now live. The classic standards will always remain eternal and most people can enjoy them; after all, that is the whole idea behind being a “standard” in the first place. However, listeners also yearn to hear music from their own eras. While grandma and grandpa—or, great-grandma and great-grandpa—might remember when those songs were new, we often digest that music through their lens, not ours.

Rachael and Vilray have crafted for us a new catalog of music that belongs to the 21st century, but it’s also music that our ancestors—those who remember the release of the original standards—would also appreciate. Rachael Price, vocalist from Lake Street Dive, and Vilray met one another while attending the New England Conservatory and reconnected years later when Rachael caught one of Vilray’s sets where he was performing his own compositions that hearkened back to those great old standards but were completely new. When Rachael heard his treasure trove of tunes, she knew she wanted to be a part of sharing them with a wider audience.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 96: Esperanza Spalding

Modern music listeners enjoy creating personalized playlists containing their preferred musicians and genres, but there’s one thing lacking: the expertly guiding hand of a radio station’s program director—or, even better—a tasteful DJ behind the microphone who loves to share favorite tunes, but also introduces listeners to new music that is worthy of addition to your personal faves. But, current culture has sacrificed the serendipitous nature of the radio in favor of complete control over musical choices, or—even worse—the choices of a faceless corporate AI bot.

Bassist and composer, Esperanza Spalding understands the mystery and magic that a spin of your local radio dial can provide, and in 2012 she released an album paying homage to the spirit of radio. Produced by Esperanza and co-produced by A Tribe Called Quest’s Q-Tip, Radio Music Society showcased the breadth of Spalding’s musical aptitude and inhabited the rare musical landscape of being challenging, yet also a lot of fun to listen to.

It’s been 10 years and the Grammy award-winning album finds itself eligible for reissue by Craft Recordings and is given the full anniversary treatment featuring 2 LPs pressed on 180-gram vinyl at RTI. The title will also be reissued in hi-res digital audio. Esperanza and I discuss the continuing role of radio in her current life and she offers a unique and descriptive behind-the-scenes peek into her production and composing process. We also explore her complimentary role as an educator and, of course, delve into what makes vinyl special to her. So, let’s turn the radio dial and search for some serendipity.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 95: David Leaf

Myths are funny things, especially in the 21st century where we find ourselves constantly reevaluating standards that were accepted as gospel only a few years ago. And who knows? It’s feasible to posit that society’s reevaluations will be reevaluated somewhere else down the long road of time. Telling the story of early rock and roll is an interesting exercise at this point in history as many of the music makers are still with us. It’s so important to get the story right so that future generations can grapple with both the facts and the myths.

David Leaf is a Peabody and Writers Guild of America West award-winning writer, director, and producer and has long been regarded as a scholar of rock and pop music, specifically of The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson. He’s spent his career sorting through rumors and myths and facts and—of course, music—and he’s written a book about The Beach Boys history that most rock and rock academics regard as the pinnacle, God Only Knows: The Story of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys & the California Myth.

Originally published in 1978, Leaf hasn’t altered the text of the original manuscript, but, rather, has added additional segments and information to create a body of work that will stand the test of time. Leaf joins me on this episode to discuss his updated book, sort through some records with me, and also to provide us all with learned theories about what was singularly unique and enduring about the music created by Brian Wilson and The Beach Boys.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 94: Kolumbo

By way of Dallas, Texas, Frank LoCrasto has crafted a career composing music that recalls a hazy past which Frank himself might not be old enough to remember first-hand. However, he knows what it takes to create a sonic landscape that harkens back to a mystical time when the sun hung low in the sky on a never-ending summer afternoon and everything was varied hues of earthy browns. His music is just what you might expect those nostalgic days to require: jazz, ambient music, Latin, 1960s and 1970s B-movie film scores, and exotica.

Now based in Brooklyn, Frank’s career has amassed quite a track record. He’s released four solo albums—When You’re There (2006), El Dorado (2011), LoCrasto (2015), and Lost Dispatch (2019)—and has written compositions for three feature length films—Sandbar (2012), Union Furnace (2015), Stranger in the Dunes (2016)—including having his songs included in the soundtrack of the 2014 movie Obvious Child, and the 2020 HBO series How to With Jon Wilson. Additionally, LoCrasto has worked with Pat Martino, James Iha, Parquet Courts, Fruit Bats, Okkervil River, and more.

On this episode, Frank joins us to discuss the latest release from his Kolumbo project. The new album is titled, Gung Ho featuring Frank’s signature blend of nostalgic exotica with a modern twist. You’ll hear us discuss vintage synths, the beauty of analog, and how Frank pieced this album together during a global pandemic.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 93: Tiffany

In the 1980s, the mall was the place to be and there is a reason why modern society is nostalgic for that insulated wonderland of days gone by. Before the internet and our endless stream of information, there was less to process, and fewer things to worry about. Blissfully ignorant innocence was on full display amid indoor atriums, food courts, and all the shopping one could hope for. Most significantly, the mall gave American youth their first taste of adult-level freedom.

When the Muzak wasn’t playing, one might have heard a cavernous echo of sound floating down the corridors and followed the noise to discover its origin. If you were lucky enough, you’d find teen-icon, pop princess, Tiffany performing her inescapable hits in front of adolescent multitudes. These performances were innovative in that they were engineered to bring the music to where the fans already were, rather than the other way around.

A lot has happened since those days: America is different, the malls aren’t the same, and neither is Tiffany. Like the rest of us, she has grown and matured and recently released a brand-new album titled Shadows, which is a hard-hitting rock record looking toward the future with one or two winks at those past golden days. Sure, the mall still exists now, and as you’ll learn, Tiffany might even be found walking the halls, but—for those of us who remember the old days—it’s different, the world isn’t the same. But, Tiffany’s optimism and dedication to her craft invites us to inject a little of that much-needed ’80s buoyancy into our modern world.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 92: Jane Monheit

It’s the time of the year when holiday music sounds as fresh as the stacks of Christmas trees being sold at your local firehouse. With some melancholy, however, we know that in another month or so we’ll be dragging those trees down the driveway and onto the curb while searching for music without so much comfort and joy to keep us busy until the birds of spring begin to chirp.

But, we’re not there yet! The days are short, and the novelty of a cozy, warm evening by the fire with a softly murmuring hi-fi in the background has not yet worn off. And what better music to hear than some traditional and popular Christmas tunes? But what to choose? There’s no shortage of places to find the stuff, but it’s not so simple to find enduring holiday classics crafted with care, skill, and class.

Acclaimed jazz and pop singer, Jane Monheit knows her way around a Christmas song or two, and she’s here to prove it with her newest release, The Merriest. The celebrated vocalist has released many albums, several of which have appeared on the Billboard Jazz Charts, and of course, she’s entertained audiences all over the world. Here, however, Jane hand-picks some of her favorite Christmas tunes with a crack band backing her up. John Pizzarelli even comes by with his guitar to join her on a rendition of “That Holiday Feeling.”

Jane and I discuss her relationship with the holidays, the lush production behind the album, some dates she’ll be performing in support of the new album, and much more. If you’re searching for something familiar, yet fresh, to accompany you through the holiday season this year, consider giving Jane Monheit’s new album a spin.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 91: Marlon Rabenreither from Gold Star

Change isn’t easy for anyone; it’s a risk. When something works, even if it doesn’t work perfectly, the simplest approach is to stay the course, to avoid rocking the boat. However, for an artist, change is often necessary, but—again—doing so can be a frightening prospect both for the artist and for their audience.

Marlon Rabenreither has fronted the group Gold Star for over a decade now. While his previous approach was somewhat more folk and acoustic guitar oriented, the pandemic nudged Marlon to try something new; distorted vocals, aggressive guitars, spacey synths, and propulsive drumming. Produced mostly on computers with his bandmates, Rabenreither created two EPs which are now available as a full-length album, Headlights USA, Parts 1 and 2.

As an artist, Rabenreither knows that in order to grow and create, one must evolve. We also discuss his creation of the album’s cover art, producing the album during the thick of the pandemic, the retro influences on his modern sound, and where his life’s headlights will lead him next.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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The Best of Radar:
The Podcast with
Evan Toth, Episode 31: Tracy Bonham

Tracy Bonham can do it all. You might remember her from the late ’90s when she released The Burdens of Being Upright abum and screamed right into the faces of the alternative rock world. Or, maybe you learned about her through her terrific albums and career that followed over the course of the last twenty years, but now, she’s back and she wants to teach you a lesson!

No, like a real lesson. Tracy takes a studious approach to music and wants to share her musical training with kids who have an interest in learning about it. Her newest project, Young Maestros, Vol. 1 has the goal of instilling into students some solid musical theory without pandering to them or talking down to them (kids hate when you do that!).

Join Tracy and me as we talk about her career and Young Maestros; you might even walk away learning some music theory; maybe even a little math. Did I just use math in an attempt to hook someone into listening to a show? Don’t worry, you’ll love it! Don’t forget to take notes, there might be a quiz at the end.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Sharp Notes each Saturday evening at 6pm and TVD Radar on Sundays at 5AM on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 90: Ron Sexsmith

The destination is not always the most important place, sometimes it’s the journey that is most impactful. A life’s odyssey really makes us who we are: the roads we’ve traveled, the mistakes we’ve made, and the lessons that we have learned along the way shape and mold us, these passages give us more tools and experiences to simply be better people or at least better at whatever it is we do.

Ron Sexsmith knows this well. In fact, his latest record—coming your way in February 2023—is titled The Vivian Line. The title is taken from a Canadian road leading from one part of Sexsmith’s life to another. His past is full of excellent work and great success, he’s had Rod Stewart, Michael Buble, Feist, and many others perform his music, he’s won several Juno awards, and this newest album will be his 17th.

I’m grateful to have Sexsmith join me to discuss the beautiful songs he’s written for the new record, but we also talk about the unique experiences he’s had since coming onto the scene in the early ’90s, the producers who helped craft his albums along the way, and his loving admirers on Twitter.

But perhaps, most importantly, we capture a very gifted musician in a stage of transmigration. He is talented enough to appreciate the journey he’s been on—the many roads he’s traveled throughout his career—and look at it through a musical perspective and we’re lucky enough to have the opportunity to hear it. Hop in, Ron Sexsmith has the car gassed up and he’s ready to take us on a journey down The Vivian Line.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 89: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter

Meet one of the most celebrated session guitarists of all time—a man who was also once a full member of both Steely Dan and The Doobie Brothers: Jeff “Skunk” Baxter.

Goodness knows that the previous sentence gives he and I plenty to talk about, but we’re here to discuss the fact that Jeff has released his first solo album after being in the music industry for over half a century; the album is titled, Speed of Heat which clues us into another one of Jeff’s interests: missile technology!

Music and the arts are driven by passion and creativity, but there is also a science that can propel the mediocre into the extraordinary. When those two traits combine, well, hold on to your socks! Baxter is a master at doing just that, and he is more than happy to explain the commonalities between those two disparate chosen career paths.

Of course, we go over all of the territories that you’re hoping we do: we discuss his time slinging a six-string (and more) in the Doobies and the Dan, the music off of his energetic first solo record, where exactly the “Chuck Berry Portal” is and how to get through it, the many heavyweight legends he’s worked with and—since you never know where a conversation with Jeff Baxter might end up—you can also expect to learn about the latest in missile defense systems. He’s intellectually voracious, never boring, and has the coolest nickname you’d ever want. Let’s spend some time with Skunk.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 88: Kaleta and Super Yamba Band

The Afrobeat sound has become a very popular genre in the last few years. Many bands—from all over the world—have embraced this exciting, funky sound that combines elements of West African music and couples it with American funk, jazz, and soul. While these recent creators make some wonderfully exciting music, the Super Yamba Band has a secret weapon that the others don’t have and his name is Kaleta.

Born in the West African country of Benin Republic and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Kaleta is a longtime veteran of the Afrobeat scene. He has toured with none other than the godfather of Afrobeat music, Fela Kuti, but over the years has also lent his guitar chops to Lauryn Hill and others. Kaleta finds himself teaming up with the Super Yamba Band, a group of young American musicians who have a supreme devotion and dedication to the music of West Africa and Afrobeat in particular.

Kaleta & Super Yamba Band find themselves back on the road still supporting their last release, Mèdaho. However, they reveal that they do have a completed follow-up album on the shelf and promise to get to that right after their tour ends. But first, it’s what some might see as a pinnacle of their performing schedule, The Kennedy Center on 11/3.

Also joining us in the conversation is the band’s drummer, Daniel Yount; he and Kaleta explore and describe how much they value the authenticity that Kaleta brings to their group, but also how Kaleta appreciates the youth and exploratory nature of the band that he has connected with. On all accounts, it seems as though this symbiotic union was a match made in heaven. You’ll also hear us discuss how Kaleta found his favorite records in Lagos, and the experience of being fined by Fela Kuti. You can hear a lot of Afrobeat out there nowadays, but only the Super Yamba Band has someone who was there during its formation; only they have Kaleta.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 87: Adam Scone

PHOTO: CHRIS BRYCE | The Hammond organ—specifically the Hammond B-3, or C-3—has a long musical history. But it’s not for everyone; it’s a heavy machine that often finds itself in need of some regular repair and constant maintenance. However, when coupled with a Leslie speaker, the sound of a Hammond organ is difficult to match; its sonorous quality and authoritative heft make it unmistakable in many of what are probably some of your favorite recordings.

Adam Scone is a Hammond organ devotee, he’s made the commitment necessary to become one of the 21st century’s notable users. He’s long been associated with the instrument and has played in jazz and boogaloo legend Lou Donaldson’s band at the Village Vanguard and the Blue Note in New York City. Scone has also shared the stage and recorded with countless others, performing on over 50 albums and was selected as a Jazz Ambassador by Lincoln Center & the Kennedy Center for the Arts; an honor which took him to perform in over 35 different countries.

When he’s not working with his other band, the Sugarman Three, he’s branched out to form The Scone Cash Players; a group with a slightly more experimental and thoughtful range than the boogaloo and funk he’s often associated with. Their latest album on Daptone, Brooklyn to Brooklin, features a blend of the usual grooves, but also includes intriguing group vocal treatments that add a truly unique character to this release.

Join Adam and I as we discuss his life’s musical journey, the many musical masters he’s met along the way, the details behind his latest album and, of course, the good people who help him load out his 400 pound Hammond organ at the end of his gigs.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 86: Robert Waite of Daylight Robbery!

You don’t have to be a musician to make great music. Sounds like a conundrum, right? Well, throughout history, there have been a number of producers behind the control room glass who have coordinated and instructed musicians to produce the music they hear in their heads; the musicians themselves become the producer’s instruments.

Meet Robert Waite. He’s not a musician, but he does love music and knows what he wants to hear. The project he has created is called Daylight Robbery! (exclamation point included) and while it’s not a band per se, by definition, it still sort of is. Robert connected with some musicians in Brooklyn, had them record parts of music, and then combined and arranged those recorded parts—after the fact—into the music you’ll hear when you listen to his latest release, Moons of Jupiter.

The project is a rich mix of jazz, hip-hop, and maybe a few elements of vaporwave mixed in for good measure. At first listen, it’s enjoyable music—that is, after all, what drew me in when I first discovered it on Bandcamp—but, as one learns about the unique method behind creation of the record, it becomes something completely different.

Robert joins me from South London to uncover the secrets behind Daylight Robbery! He’s also very eager to share some of his favorite recordings to give us a more accurate peek into what moves him as a music lover and creator. But, for goodness sake, whatever you do, don’t call him a musician. He’s a producer, goshdarnit.

Evan Toth is a songwriter, professional musician, educator, radio host, avid record collector, and hi-fi aficionado. Toth hosts and produces The Evan Toth Show and TVD Radar on WFDU, 89.1 FM. Follow him at the usual social media places and visit his website.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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