TVD Live Shots: The Struts at the Electric Ballroom, 9/18

Here’s something you don’t see every day—a UK band that’s much more well-known in the States than their home country. I’m talking about English glam rock band The Struts. Being a fan of all things glam rock myself, these guys have been on my radar from the day that they signed with Interscope Records when a friend of mine sent me a message that only read, “You need to hear this.”

It’s no secret that The Struts wear their influences on their sleeves and that’s a good thing because they know exactly who they are. Frontman Luke Spiller is the spitting image of the late, great Freddie Mercury, and he has the moves and voice to back it up. You can tell within the first few seconds of a Struts show that this guy was born to do this. He uses every square inch of the stage at his disposal and ignites the crowd with the energy of a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific.

Highlights from the set? How about the entire fucking set was one big highlight. New songs “One Night Only” and “Who Am I” take the band’s songwriting to a new level underscoring the fact that these guys are the real deal. “Kiss This” and “Could Have Been Me” just about blew the roof off of the Electric Ballroom.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD Live Shots: Future Islands at the Greek, 9/19

Baltimore-based Future Islands released their fifth album, The Far Field, earlier in 2017. Since then they’ve been selling out shows all over Europe and the United States, and have recently performed at Coachella, Bonnaroo, and the Glastonbury Festival. On September 19, they played to a packed house in Los Angeles at the Greek Theatre.

FR/BLCK/PR, brainchild of Los Angeles rapper Busdriver, opened the show.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Radar: Ella with
the London Symphony Orchestra, Someone
To Watch Over Me
in stores 9/29

VIA PRESS RELEASE | The centennial of Ella Fitzgerald’s birthday has been celebrated throughout this year and is culminated with the release of Someone To Watch Over Me, featuring digitally remastered vocal tracks from Ella’s original Decca and Verve recordings paired with newly orchestrated and arranged performances by the London Symphony Orchestra.

Grammy Award winning jazz vocalist Gregory Porter duets with Ella on the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic, “People Will Say We’re In Love” from the Broadway musical “Oklahoma.” Oscar and Grammy Award winning arranger Jorge Calandrelli collaborated with the London Symphony Orchestra on the several tracks as well as James Morgan and Juliette Pochin, who also produced the record. James Morgan and Jorge Calandrelli share conducting credits for the project and the symphony sessions were recorded at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London.

Someone To Watch Over Me presents Ella Fitzgerald at the height of her vocal powers during her prolific and historical relationship with Decca and continuing with Verve, founded by Ella’s manager Norman Granz in 1956 for the express purpose of providing the “First Lady of Song” with a home for her musical legacy. The songlist covers the period from 1950 to 1961 among them “Misty,” “Bewitched,” “These Foolish Things (Remind Me Of You),” “I Get A Kick Out of You,” from The Cole Porter Songbook, Ella’s first recording for Verve in 1956, as well as two duets with Louis Armstrong on “Let’s Call The Whole Thing Off” and “They Can’t Take Away From Me,” from their classic recordings together. The title track, a poignant and mesmerizing portrait of Ella’s singular talents, originally appeared on her first studio album in with Ellis Larkins, Ella Sings Gershwin.

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The TVD Storefront

Josh Jacobson,
The TVD First Date

“I’m not an analog purist by any means, but to me the whole experience of vinyl just feels like music the way music it was meant to be listened to.”

“There’s a certain magic about the format—it’s the perfect size to be able to appreciate the art design on a physical level, the instrumentalist and producer credits are there so you know who’s playing, and often there are lyrics and a personal statement from the artist too. Then there’s that irresistible sound! I’ll never forget the first time I listened to Errol Garner’s Concert by the Sea on vinyl and heard that familiar album open up in a completely new way.

When I was a kid, the house was mostly quiet when my mom wasn’t practicing or teaching violin lessons. But sometimes my dad would play his favorite records—Blood, Sweat and Tears, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, Thelonious Monk, and more out there favorites like Switched On Bach.

I’ve always appreciated the look and feel of vinyl, and would check out record stores when visiting a new city and pick up a few used records here and there. But the first vinyl I really bought with intention was much more recent: The Staves’ If I Was. I had listened to the album on repeat on Spotify and loved the blue snowy forest album art, and at their show when I held the vinyl at their merch table, something about it was just irresistible to me.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new and FREE tracks received last week to inform the next trip to your local indie record store.

This Pale Fire – Northern Lights
The Morning Yells – She Got Time
The Shades – Only For A Moment
Romeo Dance Cheetah – 35 Year Olds Dancin
Altre di B – Salgado
Stephen Doster – Something Good
Omega Vague – Drown
Kacey Johansing – Bow And Arrow
Lone Kodiak – Smile
Apsley – Fear

Squeeze – Innocence In Paradise

Beth // James – Bring Your Fire To Me
General Crush – Beautiful Day
20 Minute Loop – Mercury Vapor
Houses of Heaven – Black Waves
R. Kelly – Ignition Remix (Pink Panda The Good Life Remix)
Chris Rivers – TRI Force Freestyle
Axel Mansoor & Louis Vivet – Hit Rewind
Win and Woo x Bryce Fox – Chicago (INZO Remix)
Marz Money – Touch Down
Chris Rivers – 1993 Flows (Freestyle)

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Painkiller,
Guts of a Virgin

How best to describe Painkiller’s Guts of a Virgin? The perfect gift for a deaf friend? Total and utter ear obliteration? Torture music for twisted death dwarves? The sound your head might make imploding?

None of them quite gets to the essence of this brutalizing and deranged melding of atonal jazz skronk and remorseless death metal grind, which is brought to us by avant-garde alto saxophonist and man about New York City John Zorn, bassist extraordinaire Bill Laswell, and one-time Napalm Death drummer Mick Harris. The ever-adventurous Zorn founded Painkiller in 1991, impressed by the intensity of grindcore, and on that same year’s Guts of a Virgin the trio set out to produce music that is every bit as challenging (and off-putting to normally adjusted human ears) as free jazz at its most uncompromising.

The formula is simple; Zorn screeches and squonks atop the churning and ugly din produced by Laswell and Harris, and the overall effect reminds of Minneapolis noise rock heroes Cows cranked up about a thousand notches. This is some menacing, in your face shit, and the occasional blood-curdling screams don’t help. Like the ones that pepper the astounding “Scud Attack,” for instance. Talk about your music for the end of the world; I’m sure there are people out there who’d sooner face a real Scud attack than listen to this baby.

Me, I love it because I love noise, just as I love the way “Damage to the Mask” suddenly lurches from its snazzy drum opening to become a galloping squeal-fest. The title track is a brief foray into shrieking free jazz, but with a bigger, badder bottom, and both it and 11-second follow-up “HanDjob” feature a demented set of tonsils that totally remind me of Cows Shannon Selberg, who would have made the perfect frontman for this band.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 9/25/17

As the tables turn: Flat, Black & Circular celebrates 40 years in East Lansing: Flat, Black & Circular, an East Lansing record store located on Grand River Ave, is celebrating its 40th anniversary this week. Opened in 1977 on Tuesday, Sept. 26, the self-proclaimed longest running record shop in mid-Michigan is holding a celebration to commemorate four decades of excellence in the record sales business. Co-founders Dave Bernath and Dick Rosemont (Bernath still runs the business) will be in attendance. Flat, Black & Circular is East Lansing’s only record store, however, there used to be many more. Most recently, The Record Lounge in downtown East Lansing shut its doors, but now it’s just Flat, Black & Circular.

Meet Curator Who Travels U.S. Collecting Vinyl for Coachella’s On-Site Record Store: Alex Rodriguez walks into the quant Black and Gold Records in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The dimly lit store, which also serves coffee and pastries, is filled with not only vinyl but also antiques. The small-framed, long-haired Rodriguez — wearing flared Levi jeans, brown leather boots and a worn Bee Gees ’97 shirt — immediately begins flipping through crates. For the past three weeks, Rodriguez has been driving through the country stopping at various record stores in different cities to collect as much vinyl as he can to fill the on-site record store at Coachella. Aside from curating the seasonal pop-up, he also manages (and shops for) the permanent Glass House Record Store in Pomona, Calif.

Superfly’s Lone Star Music Emporium, San Marcos’ only record store, closing Oct. 31: A post on the business’s Facebook page said it would put some inventory in storage while it figured out the “next step”. “We sincerely hope that San Marvelous has another record store step up in our absence so that our regulars and new collectors alike will have a place to come hang, listen to tunes, talk music and browse through the bins,” owners wrote in the post. The business is located at 202 University Drive, Ste. C, San Marcos, next to Texas State University, and has been open since 2012.

Leonard Silver – Record Theatre

Portion of Main Street to be renamed for Record Theatre founder: Record Theatre may be gone, but the legacy of its founder will go on. The section of Main Street running from Delavan Avenue to Lafayette Avenue and back to Harvard Place that was home to the iconic record store for more than 40 years will be named Leonard “Lenny” Silver Way. A ceremony will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 29 in front of the now-closed retail music store, at 1800 Main Street. Silver opened Record Theatre in November 1976 and it grew to become “The World’s Largest Record Store” with 25,000 square feet of retail space. He provided a gathering place for musicians and music lovers alike to explore and expand their musical experiences.

Back in the groove: How vinyl rose from its sickbed to capture the eyes and ears of millennials: Progress is what the format continues to make. The BPI says that the first half of 2017 saw a 30 per cent rise in vinyl sales compared to the first half of 2016. Usain Bolt on steroids would struggle to keep up with the pace it’s setting. But, as Kim Bayley, chief executive of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA), points out, it took a lot of hard work by her members, particularly her independent members, to get us to this point. “The record business jumped into the CD business and abandoned vinyl when there was still clearly demand – it was only after a sustained campaign from retailers, via Record Store Day, that they started making vinyl LPs available in the numbers we’re now seeing and this has seen the market grow,” she says.

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TVD Los Angeles

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I never felt magic crazy as this / I never saw moons knew the meaning of the sea / I never held emotion in the palm of my hand / Or felt sweet breezes in the top of a tree / But now you’re here / Brighten my northern sky. / I’ve been a long time that I’m waiting / Been a long that I’m blown / I’ve been a long time that I’ve wandered / Through the people I have known / Oh, if you would and you could / Straighten my new mind’s eye.

I saw an article on my Flipboard that some are predicting tomorrow (Saturday) will be the end of the world. (If it’s true, there really won’t be anyone reading my Idelic Hour column!)

Hey man, I’m gonna side with the Jews and say it’s time to ring in a new year. I’m not really sure where we’re all heading, but I for one am going to continue putting out positive vibes. Yep, and the Idelic Hour is where I’m starting my day!

This week I found myself digging through crates for old soul records—some cuts more obscure than others. The goal, to lift hearts in solidarity with folks suffering harsh conditions in Mexico City, down south, and around the world.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Live: Randy Newman at the Birchmere, 9/18

At 73, Randy Newman is still writing sharp and funny political songs, elaborate and cynical set pieces about the state of the world and, in between them, the kind of stark songs that unexpectedly rip your heart out. At a wide-ranging, 2-set, 33 song panorama of his work of the past half century, fans responded to his oldest, most enduring numbers but were just as knocked out by the newest things, as collected on his new Nonesuch collection Dark Matter.

The new collection kicks off with a kind of mini-opera about science vs. religion, but he skipped it altogether on the first of a two night stint at The Birchmere in Alexandria, in place of several songs of particular interest to the politically-minded crowd.

Not only was there “Putin,” his opus to the preening Soviet leader, there was a new one imagining John and Bobby Kennedy in the White House talking about the Cuban Missile Crisis, Celia Cruz, and the head of the Washington NFL team, “Mr. George Preston Marshall” who “runs them like a plantation,” “for never has a black man worn the burgundy and gold.”

He almost forlornly sang “Political Science,” his famously sardonic call to “drop the big one now” because “no one likes us.” “It’s harder to sing this now,” he said, the day before the U.S. president would call for “the total destruction” of North Korea.

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TVD Chicago

TVD Live Shots: Riot Fest Chicago, 9/17

3:18 PM | The last day of Riot Fest ’17 is underway and the crowd is very happy to see local fellas, The Orwells, take the stage. Frontman Mario Cuomo shimmies and screams, occasionally flashing a mischievous grin at the crowd.

4:00 PM | The Mighty Mighty Bosstones are celebrating the 20th anniversary of Let’s Face It by playing it in full. It’s a scene of pure jubilation. Everyone is smiling—the crowd, the band, security, my fellow photographers. I even take a moment to see if I can figure out how to ska after all these years. (Verdict: rusty for sure but just like riding a bike.)

4:22 PM | We’re standing in the photo pit waiting for Cap’n Jazz (another Chicago band—yay!) to begin and the head of security is telling his guys that one of them needs to take a break. “Already did, boss,” one responds, holding up a half-eaten monster of a ham sandwich. “No, I want you to sit. I want one of you to take a break,” bossman reiterates. “We’ll be dead tomorrow it doesn’t matter,” another jokes. “No seriously I wanna work this one,” Mr. Ham Sandwich says mid-bite. “This guy is crazy. He goes nuts.”

4:38 PM | Mr. Ham Sandwich is 100% correct. “We’re Queens of the Stone Age thanks for coming!” lead singer Tim Kinsella jokes, minutes before leaping into the crowd to get tussled around while still singing. Their set is one of the most memorable—and best—of the weekend.

5:09 PM | Gwar just entered the press area and I’ve never seen so many industry professionals lose their composure all at once and to this extent. I mean, reporters are begging them for selfies. BEGGING. Literally everyone is ignoring their assignments to get photos with these sci-fi, man/beast, heavy metal warriors.

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