TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

My makeup is dry and it cracks round my chin / I’m drowning my sorrows in whiskey and gin / The lion-tamer’s whip doesn’t crack anymore / The lions they won’t fight and the tigers won’t roar / La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

So let’s all drink to the death of a clown / Won’t someone help me to break up this crown? / Let’s all drink to the death of a clown / La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la / Let’s all drink to the death of a clown

The old fortune teller lies dead on the floor / Nobody needs fortunes told anymore / The trainer of insects is crouched on his knees / And frantically looking for runaway fleas / La-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la

Last Sunday I dropped my eight year old son off at the bus for his first trip to sleepaway camp. It’s an exciting rite of passage. That morning both Jonah and Susan were in quite a state. It was like a Super Bowl Sunday with the entire Sidel family blasting onto the Rose Bowl field, confetti bombs blowing in the wind! Mom was trying make sure every detail was packed while Jonah was jumping out of his boots waiting for the whistle and the opening kick off.

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TVD UK

TVD Live Shots:
King’s X at the Islington Assembly Hall, 6/14

The first and last time I saw King’s X live was back in 1994 at Mississippi Nights in my hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. I was 19 years old and thought I knew what amazing musicianship looked like, but I was wrong. Doug Pinnick and company were touring in support of their landmark album Dogman, and it was one of the most incredible musical spectacles I’ve ever seen. These guys make a hell of a lot of noise for a three-piece, but furthermore, their musicianship is unmatched.

Pinnick is known for playing a 12 string bass live. If you’ve never heard one of these beasts live, it pummels your chest and rattles your soul, laying the groundwork for one of the most precise (and animated) drummers on the planet, Jerry Gaskill. The rest comes to life by Ty Tabor’s vivid calm-to-roar style guitar playing. It’s the type of music that the metal heads love as well as the prog folks—and even the Beatle-maniacs.

So why was it the band never broke through to the mainstream? I haven’t a clue, and neither do the majority of critics and fans alike. Eddie Trunk takes a stab at solving this mystery on his radio show which you can listen to here. The pieces were all lined up many times over, but while lightning certainly did strike on stage, it never equally struck the charts.

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TVD New Orleans

Naughty Professor’s
new album Identity in stores today, 6/23

I have been watching funky, jazzy, horn-heavy ensemble Naughty Professor develop as a band for several years. With the release of Identity they have finally come into their own as the newest direction of New Orleans funk. The album drops today.

What makes this album so exciting is the band has enlisted a wide range of artists to help create their vision. The group of musicians includes well-known names like legendary hip-hop artist Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 and keyboardist and vocalist Ivan Neville. It also includes up and comers from New Orleans including Dexter Gilmore of the hot new band, Sexy Dex and the Fresh.

Elsewhere on the album, David Shaw of the Revivalists, trumpeter Eric “Benny” Bloom of Lettuce, and percussion master Mike Dillon make appearances. Add guitarist Cliff Hines, vocalist Sasha Masakowski, keyboardist Jason Butler, pianist and singer Cole DeGenova, vocalist Mykia Jovan, and even Cuban percussionist Alexey Marti on various cuts and you have a recipe for an overstuffed disaster. But it turns out the album is a stunning collection; each tune fits together into the larger picture like a complex dish.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Elvis Presley, A Boy From Tupelo:
The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings
in stores 7/28

VIA PRESS RELEASE | In August of 1953, an 18-year-old Elvis Presley walked into Sun Records to record some songs as a gift for his mother. Asked by receptionist Marion Keisker about what singers he sounded like, Elvis simply answered “I don’t sound like nobody.”

A Boy From Tupelo: The Complete 1953-1955 Recordings chronicles the rise of that singer who “don’t sound like nobody.” This 3CD set includes, for the first time in one collection, every known Sun Records master and outtake, those mythical Memphis Recording Service acetates (the first four songs Elvis recorded, with his own money), and every live performance and radio recording known to exist, including a newly-discovered recording. It’s all brilliantly remastered from the best possible sources, and accompanied by a 120-page book chronicling this period in Elvis’ life date-by-date with fascinating anecdotes, rare photos, and memorabilia.

Vinyl enthusiasts will also love A Boy From Tupelo: The Sun Masters, an LP containing all of Elvis’ single sides for Sun Records, plus additional songs recorded at Sun Studios and released on his landmark self-titled debut album in 1956. Both sets are available July 28.

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The TVD Storefront

Jason Loewenstein,
The TVD First Date

“Records! I was lucky to have parents who were into music. I had my own record player and LPs. Free to Be… You and Me, Sesame Street, Electric Company, Beatles. Then me and my buddy raided his sisters collection and found B52’s, Devo, Ramones, even Pork Dukes and Dead Kennedys! We now knew something was up, something more interesting than what we were hearing on the radio.”

“Then came the amazing USA network underground music program Night Flight. Now even we suburb dwellers were being exposed to punk rock and new wave. But where do we get this stuff?! Next stop is the record store where you are looking for clues as to making your next big discovery, usually based on a record label’s reputation, a cool record cover, and blind faith. Then there are flea markets and the deep dark recesses of the used sections of these stores. That’s where the magic happens. It’s a needle in a haystack and the quest for a certain rare record can go on for years, taking the seeker on an adventure of accidental discovery that can be so rewarding.

I was super lucky to be in a touring band as we would hit record stores almost every day looking for stuff to feed our heads. Sebadoh collectively put a LOT of money back into the music economy this way!

In my years of trying to locate (among other things!) Beefheart and Silver Apples LPs in flea markets and record stores all over the country, I found so many weird and low-tech spoken word, comedy, instructional, polka, country, gospel, etc. Stuff that you buy based on instinct and record cover, and end up with something that is really fun to play for people and you can be pretty sure it will be their first exposure. Fun to turn people onto weird/wonderful sounds!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Mekons,
The Mekons Rock n’ Roll

You don’t have to be a dyed in the wool Marxist to know that rock ’n’ roll is product—just another consumer item to be consumed by consumers who live to consume. It’s everybody’s not-so-secret dirty secret, as obvious as a turd suspended in Jello, but when push comes to shove only a limited number of bands—I can think of the Minutemen, the Fall, and Fugazi off the top of my head—have addressed the issue both in the way they do business and as subject matter in their songs. And no band has ever done it with such passion, fatalistic humor, and rage as The Mekons do on their 1989 walk on the riled side, The Mekons Rock n’ Roll.

Formed in 1977 by a rowdy bunch of University of Leeds art students, the Mekons combined rank amateurism, left-wing politics, and a wry sense of humor (the title of their 1979 full-length debut, The Quality of Mercy is Not Strenen, doesn’t make much sense until the album cover reveals it to be a monkeys at typewriters producing Shakespeare joke). The Mekons gradually evolved, practically inventing alt-country in the process, but returned to their punk roots (at a stage in their career when most bands have settled into comfortable conformity) to produce what is both a howl of unbridled savagery and probably their masterpiece.

Upon first listen, The Mekons Rock n’ Roll is exactly what it purports to be—a rough and raucous celebration of the glories of rock ‘n’ roll. Except it isn’t. What it is a sly critique of rock as commodity, of sex as commodity, of a world where everything is commodity—a veritable “Empire of the Senseless,” to cite just one of the wonderfully intelligent and derisory tunes on this savage assault on capitalism disguised as an LP. “They took away our films and tapes and notebooks/But it’s ok ‘cos we’ve self-censored this song,” sneers Tom Greenhalgh, before running down a long list of the lies and deceits and casual everyday treacheries that constitute life in a materialistic society where everything has its price. As for the song itself, it boasts a great chorus, one wonderful melodica, and some truly brilliant fiddle by the wonderful Susie Honeyman.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 6/23/17

Record shop to open downtown: Four young professionals have gone into business together and will be selling what many thought was a product of the past inside a longtime facility under new ownership in downtown Rocky Mount. Kellianne Davis, Richard Draper and Madison and Michael Keith are all partners of a new vinyl record store called Station Square Records; Wax by the Tracks, which will be located in suite 162 in Station Square at 301 S. Church St. Davis said the small store, which will occupy 465 square feet, will have a soft opening and record drive from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 1. Angelo’s Pizza will be on hand selling pizza by the slice.

Music and more: Estate Thirty3 Vinyl offers a unique experience: Estate Thirty3 Vinyl is one of the most unique businesses in downtown Ashland. Near the store’s entrance, customers are greeted by images of Johnny Cash and Jim Morrison. Classic albums and beautiful paintings by local artists to enjoy or purchase adorn Estate Thirty3 Vinyl’s walls. A promotional poster from 1980 that reads “John Lennon/Yoko Ono-Double Fantasy-The album now available” appears to be frozen in time. Lennon was murdered in December 1980, three weeks after “Double Fantasy” was released after autographing a copy of it for an unstable fan.

Vinyl-pressing plant breathes new life into recording industry: In the era when G-Dragon’s new thumb drive album causes a dispute over what defines a music album, there are people who return to an antiquated and cumbersome format of music appreciation ― vinyl records. The resurgence of vinyl records is visible all across the globe, emerging from the late 2000s. According to the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, 5 million vinyl records were sold in 2008, but the number jumped some 600 percent to 32 million in 2015. Machang Music & Pictures opened a brand-new vinyl record pressing plant in Seongsu-dong, eastern Seoul, earlier this month, signals the resurrection of vinyl record industry in Korea.

Get in Your Car, Audiophiles — Odessa is Having a Huge Vinyl Record Show July 1st: Most of us up here at the radio station consider ourselves audiophiles — that is, we are highly interested in the production, sound, and quality of audio recordings. MP3s are great, but most of us own many, if not hundreds, of vinyl records. There’s something sacred and special about the buttery smooth sound of a well-preserved record, and I believe if it was recorded in analog, the best way to hear it is in analog. Odessa, Texas is setting out a beacon for audiophiles across the West Texas Area with their Vinyl Record Show, coming July 1st to Vintage Deluxe.

Boxed Sets Are Bigger Than Ever—But Who Buys Them? Back in the days when music was sold only on LP or CD, a large-format package was merely expected to serve as a delivery system for the performances themselves. (Perhaps that’s why one of the first big sets that I ever owned, the 20-CD “Frank Sinatra —The Complete Reprise Studio Recordings” from 1995, was housed in a small suitcase.) Now, in the age of sound files and streaming music, any kind of physical medium seems like a fetish object, and the package in which it is contained even more so. Clearly, size matters, and the past few years have seen huge boxed sets covering the complete catalogs of such legacy artists as Elvis Presley (60 CDs), Johnny Cash (62), Miles Davis (72) and Tony Bennett (76).

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: U2 at FedExField, 6/20

PHOTOS: RICHIE DOWNS | Playing whole albums from past catalogs is the variation that has kept arenas full for classic rock acts. It’s a way to both break from the greatest hits format and the struggle to push a new product fans may not prefer while providing a one time celebration of the past.

U2 may be one of the few acts to fill football stadiums no matter what they are doing, but celebrating the 30th anniversary of The Joshua Tree, one of their most revered albums has made their current tour a quick sellout. Among the estimated 1.7 million fans in 33 stops Tuesday was the 45,000 or so at FedExField in Landover, MD, the stop closest to DC.

It may be easy to dismiss such celebrations of the past as rekindling nostalgia for an audience that seemed strictly on the 40 and up side. But from the rat-a-tat of Larry Mullen’s initial clarion drumming to the initial words from Bono—“I can’t believe the news today; I can’t close my eyes and make it go away”—it was clear that the messages of much of the band were just as riveting and up to the moment as they may have been, in the case of the opening “Sunday Bloody Sunday,” 34 years ago. How long must we sing this song, indeed.

The spray of songs that would normally make for the encore’s rush—“Sunday Bloody Sunday” followed by “New Year’s Day,” “Bad,” and “Pride (In the Name of Love)” brought a quick urgency and immediacy to the proceedings, especially as the attack of “Bad” and its foray into Paul Simon’s “America” set its sights at the soul of the country not far from its capitol.

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TVD New Orleans

Three masters: Mooney, Stone, and Dillon for the Little Gem Saloon, 6/23

The Little Gem Saloon, one of the oldest live music venues in New Orleans, has occasionally been presenting interesting combinations of musicians since they re-reopened a few years back. This Friday night, three master players, Delta slide devotee John Mooney, six-string slinger Marc Stone, and percussion virtuoso Mike Dillon, will come together for an evening of acoustic blues and New Orleans music.

John Mooney was once called “more possessed of the spirit of the blues than any man alive,” by none other than Bonnie Raitt. He learned directly from the great bluesman Son House and therefore has a link to the beginnings of one of the most quintessential of American sounds.

Marc Stone has been digging into the blues for decades as a bandleader, solo performer and sympathetic sideman. His most recent project teamed him with a who’s who of New Orleans music to play the great 1960s funk music of the legendary Eddie Bo. The band, dubbed the New Soul Finders after Bo’s old band, features players who either played with Bo or were directly influenced by him. I saw a recent set at the Little Gem and was struck by how the musicians’ uncanny ability to play Bo’s music blended seamlessly with their own musical personalities and other influences.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: The Stooges, Highlights from the Funhouse Sessions next up for Run Out Groove

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Each month, Run Out Groove allows fans to vote on the label’s next high-quality vinyl pressing, chosen from selections of unreleased material, out-of-print material, or brand new collections compiled from the Warner Music vault.

Stooges fans united and voted for Highlights From the Fun House Sessions to be the next official limited and numbered Run Out Groove title. This is a brand new collection to vinyl that includes some of the best alternate takes from the Stooges’ lauded and expansive 1970: The Complete Fun House Sessions box, now sequenced for a 2LP set. Highlights From the Fun House Sessions is available to order exclusively via the Run Out Groove website until July 1st and will be limited and numbered based on total orders taken at the end of the pre-order period. After the pre-order closes, the only way to purchase a copy will be via participating music retailers across the U.S., while supplies last.

Fans decide what ROG presses next! | Morphine, Live at the Warfield 1997: Completely unreleased live recordings in stunning fidelity from their Like Swimming Tour, 1997. Package includes never before seen photos, original watercolor drawings by Mark Sandman and was co-produced by saxophonist, Dana Colley. Plasticland, Plasticland: Long out of print 1984 debut album on Enigma/Pink Dust from Wisconsin garage band who were a big part of the Paisley Underground scene. Plan 9, Keep Your Cool and Read the Rules: The fourth, long out of print, 1985 album from Rhode Island’s neo-psychedelic rockers.

Initial offerings from Run Out Groove included a new MC5 collection in stores now, an Echo & The Bunnymen live release from the ’80s shipping at the end of June, and a deluxe reissue of Secret Machines’ Now Here is Nowhere in production now. Pre-orders for a new reissue of Dream Syndicate’s The Complete Live at Raji’s closed this month.

Run Out Groove encourages feedback, questions, and suggestions for potential new titles at info@runoutgroovevinyl.com.

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