TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
George Thorogood & the Destroyers at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 7/29

George Thorogood is a bit of a mythical figure to me. Growing up in the midwest of the US, I was eight years old when I first saw the video for “Bad to the Bone.” Here’s this regular-looking dude walking into a pool hall with a guitar case that, instead of a Gibson, had a pool cue in it. He would go on to hustle the legendary bluesman Bo Diddley (I had no idea who he was at that time). I thought it was a bit strange for a storyline for a music video, but there was no denying that this guy was a bad motherfucker when it came to playing the blues. Is he a shredder like SRV or Hendrix? No. He’s got style, he’s got finesse, and most importantly, he’s got attitude.

Fast forward 40 years (Jesus, I’m getting old), and I get my first chance to see him live, and he brought the Destroyers. Celebrating 45 years of rock, the show that had been postponed several times finally arrived at London’s famed Shepherd’s Bush Empire. George came out on stage, immediately walked up to the front, and gave all the photographers in the pit a chance at an epic shot—then he went straight for the crowd. I’ve never seen anyone have such a good time playing the blues. He made the sold-out, packed to the gills theatre feel like the roadhouse saloon somewhere outside of Philadelphia. He was cracking jokes, chatting directly with the crowd, telling stories, and making quips; it was as if George knew the crowd intimately.

And I’m here to tell you, George didn’t miss a beat. His personality and that character I saw in the “Bad to the Bone” video is authentic; that’s just how he is. Even the security guy told me he was making jokes and telling stories to the staff during soundcheck. You can clearly see in the photos that George was on fire, and the Destroyers were tight as can be with original band members Billy Blough and Jeff Simon holding down the groove. For me, this puts a show over the top, seeing someone who’s been doing it for this long and still looks like they are having the time of their life.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Poison,
Open Up and Say… Ahh!

Celebrating Rikki Rockett, born on this day in 1961.Ed.

I finished this review only to discover–much to my chagrin-that I wrote one 3 years ago. Just more proof, as any were needed, that I have the memory of a house fly. In any event, this new review is 150 times better than the old one. Besides, all self-respecting music critics should return to this hair metal masterpiece every couple of years. It’s that great.

Judging by the Punky Meadows look-alike on the cover of their 1986 debut and the twin sister of Gene Simmons on their second, these Mechanicsburg chest waxers couldn’t decide whether they wanted to be Angel or Kiss, so they went ahead and bested both of ‘em. Glam metal idols in the days before Kurt Cobain placed former hairdresser Rikki Rockett’s skyscraper ‘do on the endangered species list, Poison packed enough hair to stuff a mattress into their metal and by so doing lubed the loins of a million girls itching to steal their makeup.

Had Poison been nothing more than a pretty pooch they’d have gone the way of Cats in Boots, and poor C.C. DeVille would have had to scuttle back to Three Mile Island with his poison blue Flying V guitar beneath his legs. But Poison had the skills to pay their thousand dollar spandex bills, and come Open Up and Say… Ahh! only Guns ‘N’ Roses had more powder in their pistol.

Counterintuitive as it sounds, there was an innocence to Poison’s twist on L.A. sleaze; unlike those moody social Darwinists Guns ‘N’ Roses (welcome to the jungle!), Poison believed in the power of positive partying. No appetite for destruction for these hair teasers; like Def Leppard, all they wanted was for you to pour some sugar on ‘em and lick it off.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 80: Michael Rault

PHOTO: SHAWNA SCHIRO | Michael Rault embraces the skill that all great musicians are good at: listening. All of his life, Michael has been carefully listening to his influences, and filtering those sounds through his own lens. It seems he’s finally completed the album that he’s been destined to make, his self-titled, second solo release.

Musically, he’s a sponge picking up some of the greatest sounds of the latter half of the 20th century. If your record collection is eclectic, then what Michael creates will fit right in next to the tried and true, well-traveled grooves sitting on your shelf. Completing this musical journey is the production and flavor that Daptone Records’ subsidiary, Wick Records, brings to the formula: a warmly textured, funky, organic and earthy feel, but applied to a rock and roll singer-songwriter instead of to the soul, funk, and R&B projects that the label is often known for.

This Canadian, like many famous songwriting Canadians in the 1970s, has made his current home beneath the sunny skies of Los Angeles, California. While there, he has connected with a like-minded group of other musicians who support each other musically and otherwise which is perfect for Michael, because he seems to always be looking for inspiration, always looking for something new to listen to.

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 TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Pere Ubu,
The Modern Dance

1896 saw the premier of literary bomb-thrower Alfred Jarry’s play Ubu Roi, with its anti-hero Pere Ubu. The play promptly caused a riot, and Jarry—who once said “One can show one’s contempt for the cruelty and stupidity of the world by making of one’s life a poem of incoherence and absurdity” was undoubtably pleased. His goal—to the extent that he had one—was to see the hidebound and the conventional art of his time dead and buried. “Art,” he said, “is a stuffed crocodile.”

No one has ever accused Cleveland’s Pere Ubu of being a stuffed crocodile. The band that would make a virtue of clang and clamor rocketed from the tomb of the Mistake on the Lake’s Rocket from the Tombs, a promising band that collapsed over the usual creative differences.

Tombs’ members split into factions—David “Crocus Behemoth” Thomas and a collection of new players here, Stiv Bator and Company’s Dead Boys (originally Frankenstein) over there. (A third band, Friction, which was fronted by Rocket linchpin Peter Laughner, would collapse without recording an album after he rocketed his way into his own tomb at the ripe old age of 24, the result of booze and drugs.) Pere Ubu and the Dead Boys couldn’t have been more different. The latter band fit comfortably into the Heartbreakers and Richard Hell and the Voidoids mold; Pere Ubu followed their namesake straight into the revolutionary absurd.

Thomas’ notion was to create a clamorous and fractured sound, and to do so he enlisted an initially reluctant Alan Ravenstine, whose synthesizers, atonal saxophone, and innovative tape manipulation techniques spelled the difference between Pere Ubu and its contemporaries. The result was the band’s 1978 debut The Modern Dance—arguably the most innovative LP to emerge from the post-punk era.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/8/22

Memphis, TN | The Vinyl Countdown: It’s no secret that vinyl is resurgent. After being eclipsed first by CDs in the 1990s and then by streamed digital music, records were nigh impossible to find in mainstream stores for many years, until around 2008, when the manufacture and sales of vinyl albums and singles began to grow again. Since then, the trend has only accelerated, with market analyses predicting continued annual growth between 8 percent-15 percent for vinyl musical products over the next five to six years. What fewer people realize is how every step of the process that makes records possible can be found in Memphis. “The Memphis Sound … where everything is everything,” ran the old Stax Records ad copy, and that’s especially true in the vinyl domain: All the elements are within reach. Johnny Phillips, co-owner of local record distributor Select-O-Hits, says “There’s not very many cities that can offer everything we offer right here. From recording to distribution, from inception to the very end. Everything you need, you have right here. Memphis is like a one-stop shop for vinyl right now.”

Hot Springs, AK | Buried Treasure: There’s a new record shop in the basement of the Arlington: On Monday around lunchtime, a Facebook post circulated among musicians and vinyl collectors noting the arrival of a new record shop in the basement of the Arlington Hotel Resort Hotel & Spa, a hulk of a structure in downtown Hot Springs that opened its arms in 1875 to the upper crust who came for the town’s healing thermal spring waters and libertine charms — Babe Ruth and Al Capone among them. The hotel’s “basement” is a sort of precursor to the shopping mall, with a handful of ventures (Mamoo’s Creamery, for one) doing business among the vestiges of the bathhouse district’s heyday — vintage mosaic tile, an antique barbershop swivel chair. The newest of those underground storefront enterprises is the Downtown Record & CD Emporium, a 4-day-old vinyl record shop owned by vinyl lifer Tom Coleman. Buy, sell, trade, or just come in and look around. 78s, 45s, cassettes, CDs. The shop will do a soft opening this month and a grand opening on Friday, Sept. 2, in conjunction with Hot Springs’ monthly First Friday Gallery Walk.

Phoenix, AZ | How a Phoenix record store owner set the audiophile world on fire: MoFi Records claimed its expensive reissues were purely analog reproductions. It had been deceiving its customer base for years. Mike Esposito still won’t say who gave him the tip about the records. But on July 14, he went public with an explosive claim. In a sometimes halting video posted to the YouTube channel of his Phoenix record shop, the ‘In’ Groove, Esposito said that “pretty reliable sources” told him that MoFi (Mobile Fidelity), the Sebastopol, Calif., company that has prided itself on using original master tapes for its pricey reissues, had actually been using digital files in its production chain. In the world of audiophiles — where provenance is everything and the quest is to get as close to the sound of an album’s original recording as possible — digital is considered almost unholy. And using digital while claiming not to is the gravest sin a manufacturer can commit. There was immediate pushback to Esposito’s video, including from some of the bigger names in the passionate audio community.

Cloverdale, CA | Elevated Music to celebrate two-year anniversary with special sale: Music shop opened during height of COVID. Cloverdale’s Elevated Music is turning two. Owner Bill Haggerty can’t believe it’s already been two years since he opened his music store. “These past two years have been amazing,” said Haggerty. “Our expectations were blown away. The entire experience has been incredible.” Haggerty said several highlights from the past two years stick in his mind, such as the multiple Record Store Day sales they’ve hosted, his Clovie Award win, and the store’s one-year anniversary celebration, but the biggest highlight for him has been the customers. “The community support has been massive,” said Haggerty. “Every month it just grows exponentially.” Last year, Haggerty said he was “absolutely thrilled” to be nominated for a Clovie Award for Young Entrepreneur of the Year. At the time he said it was “a real honour to be recognized” alongside other deserving entrepreneurs. Haggerty ended up winning the award and he said the process was humbling.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

Rock and grills / Mountains and hills / They won’t last they won’t last / Your building’s tall very tall / Your people small very small / They won’t last they won’t last / They won’t last they won’t last

Stop rider coming baby / Cakifia is her name / Some call her California / She’ll break just the same / She’ll break just the same / She’ll break just the same

Over the many years I’ve written this “mini column” (aka intro) for the Idelic Hour, I’ve mentioned this and the hour of music is my weekly diary. This week was a big one in our home. Wednesday our son Jonah turned 14. As parents we understand a child’s birthday is a family celebration. We reflect on the day of and the day before. We pull baby photos and look and coo in awe of life and the constant ebb and flow of change—what I call my rock ‘n’ roll journey. As a second time around, an “older” parent, I also have become keenly aware that life only comes around once.

Wednesday was my one shot at celebrating Jonah’s Fourteenth, and my goal was to savor every minute of it. For me 14 was pure rock ‘n’ roll magic. In those days my old man had moved from NYC was living in San Fransisco. On the weekend dad would say, “go for a ride.” This meant we’d get in the car, pop in a cassette, smoke a joint, and explore the California coast.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live: Lollapalooza at Grant Park, 7/28

12:43PM: Well, we’re underway! The Lollapalooza gates have barely opened and thumping from Perry’s Stage can be heard outside the grounds on Michigan Avenue where many an entrepreneur line the street. There are artists hocking floral crowns and headbands to popsicle stands to coolers filled with everything from water to White Claw to Fireball. Chicago is ready to make some money this weekend.

2:13PM: Entering Lolla I pass some teens attempting to hide their baby bottles of vodka from security. It’d be a lot more discreet if they weren’t standing directly in front of security, but they’ll learn.

3:22PM: My first Perry and Etty Lau Farrell sighting of the weekend and it’s right off the bat. The Lolla founder and his wife have brought special guests today: their two adorable dogs.

4:29PM: The sound of Still Woozy’s high energy pop music is matched only by his high energy pop presence.

5:24PM: You can always count on Tove Lo to bring a dance party and give you a good ol’ boob flash.

6:13PM: I wasn’t sure what to expect from Des Plaines’ own 100 gecs but their fans’ enthusiasm as they counted to 100 before the duo hit the stage had me intrigued. And then they appeared in wizard costumes and pretty much instantly won me over. Their hyperpop is perfect for gamers and fans of the show Workaholics.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Rick Derringer,
All American Boy

Celebrating Rick Derringer on his 75th birthday.Ed.

I don’t know about you, but I spend plenty of time thinking about the words I want engraved on my headstone. They’re going to be there for eternity, after all, so you want your epitaph to be both eye-catching and memorable. Over the years I’ve gone from E.M. Cioran’s, “Only one thing matters; learning to be the loser” to “Futility Lies Here” to “This is all your fault.” But I always come back to the aside Rick Derringer tosses off in the middle of “Rock and Roll Hoochie Koo,” to wit, “Did somebody say keep on rockin’?”

“Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo” is one of rock’s greatest songs, and Derringer’s version is decidedly superior to the one recorded by Johnny Winter in 1970. Winter’s version is surprisingly sluggish, and it took Derringer, an axe-slinger more attuned to pure rock’n’roll than the blues, to really press down on the accelerator. And Derringer’s rock chops are what make his 1973 LP, All American Boy, so wonderful.

The ex-McCoy—you know, the band that gave us “Hang on Sloopy”—has very impressive bona fides as a sideman and hired gun. He has had a quasi-incestuous relationship with the Winter Brothers and participated in various of their projects, played on several Steely Dan tunes, was responsible for the guitar solo on Alice Cooper’s “Under My Wheels,” and played on Todd Rundgren’s best albums, including Something/Anything. And I’m just cherry picking here.

But it’s the solo (and star-studded) LP All American Boy that is his finest hour. It’s all over the place, but most of its songs work, and what we’re looking at here is a sadly neglected album of great merit. He certainly brought in the talent: Edgar Winter plays keyboards, David Bromberg plays guitar and dobro, Joe Walsh throws in on electric guitar, Bobby Caldwell handles drum chores, Suzi Quatro plays bass on those songs that Kenny Passarelli doesn’t, and Toots Thielemans even contributes on harmonica.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Podcast with Evan Toth, Episode 79: Gabriel Birnbaum from Wilder Maker

The first time I played Wilder Maker’s new album titled Male Models, I thought someone sent me the wrong link; I assumed that instead of the actual record, I was listening to a mixtape from the record label. The wide-reach and scope of the record seemed to be too much to accomplish from one group of musicians. But, as I listened, I began to piece together similar voices and instrumentation and—maybe, most interestingly—the style of musical composition. Finally, it dawned on me that this was the same band all along; this was Wilder Maker.

Gabriel Birnbaum has a history in jazz, but loves his rock and roll too. With Wilder Maker, he’s taken those free-form chops, and a healthy respect for clever composition, and juxtaposed it with rock and pop and folk and whatever else he deems necessary to share his vision with you, dear listener. He’s erudite, he doesn’t shy away from overarching themes and references; this Wilder Maker album is just like graduate school: scholarly, but fun and—most importantly—rewarding.

Birnbaum joins me from a farmhouse in Vermont to explain how the album was constructed during the pandemic, the players who currently make up the band, and his musical influences and goals. Birnbaum is at Wilder Maker’s helm, but the contributions of all of the talented musicians who helped create Male Models demonstrates that—like a good mixtape, or playlist—the best musical ensembles are greater than the sum of their parts.

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 TVD Storefront

The 100 Most Awesome Rock Songs of All Time

Here you have it—my list of the 100 most awesome rock songs of all time. I can guarantee you’ll either 1) find it ludicrous proof that I have deplorable tastes in music or 2) dismiss it as a willfully perverse attempt to irk on my part. Or both. But here’s the thing—these are MY 100 most awesome rock songs of all time. I could have attempted to write an “objective” list of the top 100 most awesome songs of all time, one that would have surely included songs by the likes of Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, the Ramones, the Clash, Joy Division, and Nirvana (to name but a few), but truth is I rarely if ever listen to any of ‘em. Besides, the exercise would have been boring as hell.

What’s my idea of an awesome song? Simple. A truly awesome song is one that I could listen to with a smile in my heart every single day for the rest of my life without growing sick of it. No exaggeration. Which is why I haven’t included songs I’ve loved for, say, a mere five years or so. How can I be certain that one day down the road I’ll hear, to cite just two examples, the MC5’s “Black to Comm” or Mud’s “Tiger Feet” and mutter, “Jesus, not that fucking song again.” My ears are fickle bastards.

To be truly accurate, a list like this would have to be updated daily, because none of us have every song we’ve ever loved at our fingertips. They will only announce themselves to us when we hear them in our sleep, on the radio, in movies, TV shows and annoying ads, in supermarkets, dentists’ chairs, or at the gym. Hell, I’ll probably hear at least one awesome song at my own wake.

So yeah, no one will be happy with this list. My uneducated guess is that some 99 percent of readers will conclude I’m full of shit, as opposed to the 92 percent of readers who’ve been convinced I’m full of shit for years now. But I have no regrets. Better to do 100 things wrong than do nothing at all. My mom used to tell me that, before they packed her off to the penitentiary for committing a dozen or so armed robberies.

One final note: I’ve tried to stick as closely as possible to that “rock” in the title. Hence I’ve attempted to exclude, for better or worse, songs in the funk, hip hop, gospel, reggae, country, soul, ska, disco, R&B, Americana, folkies with banjos, electric dance, and industrial genres that might otherwise have made the list. I’ve also excluded, with one notable exception, progressive rock, for the simple reason that I loathe the shit.

100. “Closer to the Heart” • Rush
Geddy Lee wants to “mold a new reality, closer to the heart,” and I’m okay with that.“You can be the captain, and I will draw the chart,” he sings, and I’m okay with that too. And I hereby announce that my first act as ship’s commander will be to make Geddy walk the plank.

99. “Miracles” • Starship
Marty Balin: “I had a taste of the real world/When I went down on you, girl.” Well there you have it—if it ain’t vagina, it’s Maya.

98. “Bittersweet Symphony” • The Verve
A stroke of genius, sampling the Andrew Oldham Orchestra’s version of the Rolling Stones’ “The Last Time.” But how can Richard Ashcroft be stuck in a mold if he’s a million different people from one day to the next? Oh well. It’s no dumber than “Slowly walking down the hall/Faster than a cannonball.”

97. “Smoke on the Water” • Deep Purple
Remember that stupid guy with a flare gun? You’re looking at him.

96. “Candles in the Rain” • Melanie
Before she got her brand new pair of roller skates and zipped herself off the American Top Forty forever, Melanie of the amazing voice recorded this gospel-flavored salute to the festival at Woodstock, which tops “Woodstock” because she doesn’t 1) say anything really stupid like “We are billion-year-old carbon” or 2) make me blow radioactive chunks like Crosby, Stills Nash & Young.

95. “Lights Out” • The Angry Samoans
The newest teen fad? Poking your eyes out with a fork. Or a pen. Actually any pointy object will do. But be sure to read the instructions: “If you poke too far you reach the front of your brain/Fork in your mind can drive you insane!” And no one wants that.

94. “Come Sail Away” • Styx
Let’s see if I’ve got this straight. Dennis DeYoung’s the captain of a ship setting course for a virgin sea. When along come some angels in a starship, which should not be confused with the Starship of “We Built This City” or the guitar-shaped starship on the cover of Boston’s debut album. DeYoung’s starship is just your average run of the mill UFO, by which I don’t mean the band.

93. “Calling Occupants of Interstellar Craft” • The Carpenters
One minute the brother and sister team then President Richard Nixon called “Young America at its very best” were churning out brilliant chart toppers, the next they were inviting bug-eyed green people from outer space to stop by for finger sandwiches. As if Klaatu hadn’t stopped by for finger sandwiches some four years earlier.

92. “Deuce” • Redd Kross
If Kiss had a goddamn clue as to how to play their own songs, they’d be Redd Kross.

91. “This Is Just a Modern Rock Song” • Belle and Sebastian
These Glasgow Twee People have never been as innocent as they sound—that “Arab strap” in the title of “The Boy with the Arab Strap” is a cock harness. On this one, Stuart Murdoch ambles about Glasgow getting tossed arse over tit by a girl who knows judo, and making self-effacing comments about his band. To wit, “We’re four boys in corduroys/We’re not terrific but we’re competent.”

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 8/5/22

Denver, CO | Colorado Loves Vinyl More Than Any Other State: Coloradans love vinyl more than residents of any other state, according to a new study from ProVape based on google searches. The Centennial State is followed by California, Texas, New York and Nevada. That tracks for us, considering the Mile High City is home to several longstanding record stores, such as Twist & Shout, which has been around for more than thirty years; Wax Trax, a Denver fixture for 47 years that even underwent a restoration project after the pandemic; Angelo’s; and Mutiny Information Cafe. A 14,000-square-foot vinyl pressing plant is also coming to RiNo courtesy of Vinyl Me, Please, a Denver-based record club. VMP hopes the plant will be open to the public in October; it began construction across the street from Mission Ballroom in June. Visitors will be able to take a tour and see how records are made, then shop in the gift store and enjoy their purchases over cocktails in the vinyl listening bar. The plant is also looking to implement a greener process for pressing vinyl by using recycled materials.

Grand Rapids, MI | The Corner Record Shop shutting down iconic Grandville location: It has not been a good year for businesses along Chicago Drive in Grandville. At the end of June, we learned of the closing of the Grandvilla Restaurants. They had been in business for almost 90 years. The owners of The Villa and The Dungeon said that the COVID pandemic took its toll on the business. The owners also added: “It’s been a true blessing to be such a staple in the Grandville area and we will always and forever cherish each and every one of you.” Bad News and Good News for Record Lovers: If you are a lover of old vinyl records you have probably been to The Corner Record Shop in Grandville. It is located just down the street from the now closed Grandvilla Restaurants. First the bad news… The Corner Record Shop made an announcement on social media Tuesday, August 2nd that they will soon be closing down their Grandville location at 3562 Chicago Drive. Now the good news… The Corner Record Shop is not closing down its business for good. Instead, they are relocating just a mile from the Chicago Drive location. The new home will be in the Oakestown Mall at 2982 28th St. SW.

Richie Furay picks the albums and music that changed his life: The former Buffalo Springfield/Poco guitarist shares the music that made him the singer-songwriter he is today. If any artist could be said to have influenced the course of modern Americana, then suffice it to say that Richie Furay would be at the top of that list. His role in founding what arguably became America’s finest band of all time, the Buffalo Springfield, and then, following its breakup, the group that would establish an enduring template for country rock, the outfit humbly known as Poco, continues to ensure his status as one of music’s most influential icons. It’s appropriate, then, that his new album, In the Country, finds him going back and revisiting a dozen classic country songs and putting his indelible mark on each. Some could be considered standards — “Take Me Home, Country Roads” and “Walking In Memphis,” among them — while others, like his list of Top 10 albums, represent songs that left an imprint on both his life and his career.

Rapper’s delight: the record collection of DJ Kool Herc: The legendary DJ and Father of Hip-Hop’s catalogue contains foundational elements of the modern American musical canon. In DJ Kool Herc’s record collection, we see more than the musical interests of the Jamaican-American DJ recognized as the Father of Hip-Hop: these vinyl records are the genre’s essential building blocks. They contain breaks — the portions of the song that Herc would convert to drum loops in his signature ‘merry-go-round’ technique — whose grooves charged the makeshift dancefloors of the Bronx during the earliest hip-hop parties in the 1970s, and are still used today. Like the guitars of Eric Clapton or B.B. King, Herc’s records — on sale at Christie’s from 4-18 August in DJ Kool Herc and the Birth of Hip-Hop — are pieces of American musical history that changed the world’s perception of what music was, what it could be.

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TVD Cleveland

TVD Live Shots: Rage Against the Machine and Run the Jewels at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, 7/27

It’s been a long time coming. First the thrill of the 2019 announcement that Rage Against The Machine was reuniting for a world tour after an eight-year hiatus. Then 2020 hit and, well, you know what. So here we are, two and a half years later, finally able to feast our eyes, ears and souls on their Public Service Announcement Tour. And boy does it live up to expectations.

Run the Jewels kicked off the evening doing what they do best: winning over every single person in the arena. Killer Mike and El-P are quite literally a dynamic duo. Social activists, feminists, comedians, hype men—and oh yeah supreme rappers—they do it all. Their set left me feeling empowered and energized.

Next up was Rage. Much needed Rage. A rageful call to arms. Emotional catharsis in the form of song. For a couple hours, Rage Against The Machine (Zack de la Rocha, Tom Morello, Brad Wilk, Tim Commerford) gave us permission to be angry and outraged at the state of our world; at the fact that their music, thirty years later, is more relevant than ever. They gave us permission to scream and stomp and laugh and clap. To cry and dance and sing. They gave us some healing. And I’m not sure there’s a better gift than that.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Klaus Schulze,
La Vie Electronique Volume 1.0

Remembering Klaus Schulze, born on this day in 1947.Ed.

Klaus Schulze has released a certifiable ass-ton of music, and only the most severely dedicated have collected it all. For those wishing to own his earliest solo recordings on vinyl, the long wait is over, as the One Way Static label has issued his work from 1968-1970 on the 2LP set La Vie Electronique Volume 1.0. Fully embracing experimentation in a home environment, Schulze’s boldly celestial and drone friendly excursions infuse early electronic, proto-ambient exploration with edge and heft. Today it’s easy to pigeonhole, but at the time it was breaking new ground, or it would’ve been, had it promptly come out; the good news is that it holds up well, and two more volumes are on deck.

This isn’t the debut for the material on offer here, but it is the most concise assemblage of solo Schulze at his earliest. Initially, this stuff was sprinkled non-chronologically by Klaus D. Mueller, who contributes useful notes for this set, into 1995’s 10CD Historic Edition box set, which in 2000 was dropped into the 50CD (that’s right, 50) Ultimate Edition savings-drainer (which also included the 10CD Silver Edition, the 25CD Jubilee Edition and five additional discs).

The maximal method was obviously geared to the diligent fan, but after the Ultimate Edition fell out of print, the notion of following chronology and breaking the music into more digestible sets prevailed; this resulted in the 16 volume La Vie Electronique CD series, which spanned from 2009 to 2015; La Vie Electronique Vol. 1.0 offers the contents of the first 3CD volume’s opening disc across two LPs.

Klaus Schulze wasn’t completely a solo operator. His first group Psy Free, described by Schulze in Mueller’s notes as playing avant-garde/ free rock, never recorded, but he then moved on to Tangerine Dream, and after playing drums on their swell first album, 1970’s Electronic Meditation, just as quickly quit. From there, he formed Ash Ra Tempel with bassist Hartmut Enke and guitarist Manuel Göttsching; helping to shape a terrific self-titled ’71 debut, he made another exit.

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New Release Section

New Release Section: Jimmy Cliff, “Refugees” ft. Wyclef Jean

VIA PRESS RELEASE | One of the most important reggae artists of all-time, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame® inductee, and GRAMMY® Award-winning icon Jimmy Cliff makes his long-awaited return with a new single entitled “Refugees” (feat. Wyclef Jean). This international anthem paves the way for his first album in over a decade, Refugees, on August 12, 2022 via UMe.

With a Dance Version now and Rap Version (due out later), “Refugees” captures the spirit of Cliff’s most classic output with a neo-soul hip-hop twist courtesy of the legendary Fugees co-founder Wyclef Jean. It also continues the creative and spiritual connection between these two mavericks as Wyclef famously inducted Cliff into the Roll Hall of Fame® in 2010.

Regarding this generational collaboration, Wyclef commented, “For me, coming to America wasn’t easy when I first got here. Having family members who suffered political torment, it wasn’t easy for us. When I say ‘Fugees,’ ‘Fugees’ is short for ‘Refugees.’ I was always like, ‘If I could penetrate a message, it would be that.’ And who inspires that? Jimmy Cliff is one of my biggest inspirations ever, and he has always stayed on message when it comes to peace, love, and unity.”

“The collaboration with this record is just what we are, talking for the forgotten. In an era where love is needed, I don’t think anybody can convey that better than the king.” That’s what the “King” does best on Refugees. Jimmy said, “I’m very proud of this, because it sees Jimmy Cliff in a new musical direction. I’ll always go into something new. Even though Refugees is a heavy title, you’re going to be moving your feet, because it’s on the dancefloor. There we go. I love it.”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Imaginational Anthem Vol. XI : Chrome Universal – A Survey of Modern Pedal Steel

Individually deep and collectively cohesive, Tompkins Square’s Imaginational Anthem series stands securely amongst the very finest surveys of instrumental guitar ever assembled. Vol. XI is the latest installment, curated by Luke Schneider and informatively titled Chrome Universal – A Survey of Modern Pedal Steel; it features nine pieces from nine different purveyors of steel guitar artistry, with the contents varied yet focused. Another way to put it is to say the instruments used are recognizably pedal steel, and yet the playing eludes expectations. The collection is out August 5 on cassette, compact disc, and digital. Vinyl is coming at a date as yet unspecified.

In his liner essay for this set, the guitarist William Tyler expands upon a youthful state of mind that is very relatable. Specifically, he writes of his fascination with musical instruments as a child, and simultaneously, his difficulty in connecting to the sound of the pedal steel. As a music obsessed kid with a similar blockage of appreciation, I know of exactly what he speaks.

This really comes down to, as Tyler elaborates, a sense of fatigue through immersion. He grew up in Nashville, where country music has long been the dominant sound. In my case, I heard little music not tagged as country until shortly before my teen years, and after soaking up The Beatles, The Stones, Hendrix, Led Zep, and Sabbath, country music, where the pedal steel was a staple if not a constant, just couldn’t match up.

Keep in mind that for me, this was well before the emergence of Alt-country and after the major names in the Outlaw Country movement had settled into a mainstream they were never really that disconnected from. But of course, times change, along with maturity and reevaluations, though what Chrome Universal is proposing is not a reassessment of country music, but a consideration of the genre-eclipsing possibilities of pedal steel.

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