Friday, April 30, 2010
Hate to Feel | I’ve seen that Courtney Love has been in the news of late. I’m a friend and fan of Hole guitarist, Eric Erlandson. For me there is no Hole without Eric. Nonetheless Courtney has just released a new album, she’s calling it Hole, and it’s in this week’s Idelic mix.
Being the former proprietor of one Hollywood’s rock n roll haunts, Small’s (bar) I had been friendly with the smart, gregarious, and trouble-making Love even “pre-hole” 90’s.
To be honest I’ve avoided Courtney these past 10 ten years. I’ve always enjoyed her company but can’t deal with the “drama and pills.” That was until a couple of week’s ago when I responded to her friend request and emails on Facebook. She was asking about a specific time period, post Nevermind, when she and Kurt were living in LA. It brought back the memories of my brief encounters hanging with Kurt and that decade serves as my muse for this week’s Idelic Hour.
The 90’s is a decade of rock n roll I have very mixed feelings about. Certainly the 2nd half of the decade gave rise to some of the least inspiring music in rock n roll history. I tired to stay focused by keeping it “real” with a sense of irony. The rise of computers, Napster the MP3, feels far more influential than the songs of the day. The story of Kurt and his tragic loss is the decade’s defining digest. It’s with a smile that I can picture Kurt and Lane Staley smoking cigarettes in heaven.
New songs of note in the mix from Band of Horses, The Hold Steady, cool Norwegian rockers Pirate Love and of course the “Queen of Grunge” is back.
idelicsounds.com | @sidelic
The Idelic Hour [4/30/2010] (Mp3, 88Mg)
Posted by Jon at 4:44 PM
Because we think you should constantly be in the know:
Starting Today at 12pm CST, Thirdman Records will begin a 24-hour listening party for the new killer Dead Weather album “Sea Of Cowards.” As we like doing things a bit different, this listening party will consist of a camera focused a turntable playing “Sea of Cowards”. I know what you’re thinking “Bor-ing! That’s not a listening party…that’s a screensaver.” First off…that would be a killer screensaver. Secondly, that turntable is located in the metaphorical heart of Third Man Records in Nashville (with eventual baton-passing to the hep folks at Warner Brothers in Los Angeles) and we will be doing everything we can to make this video feed interesting. Maybe a cat will crawl on the turntable and start scratching like Grand Wizard Theodore. Or maybe we get some special guests in house just to flip the records, in spite of our usual disdain for record flippers. Maybe we change it up and just start playing some disco records (not really). Or maybe you get a sweet sneak preview of an album that completely slays. Either way, the audio stream of the album will be coming directly from the record player you see in the shot. We’re calling it Screaming Vinyl Live because “Streaming Vinyl Live” seemed, as you the judgmental fan so clearly pointed out, sounded boring.
Read more here...and aw, hell. Watch it below.
Live Streaming by Ustream.TV
Posted by Jon at 3:50 PM
I have been lucky enough to get to work in Ardent Studios on a couple of occasions, and I can attest that it is a very special place. They just don't make 'em like Ardent anymore.
Usually, a studio falls under one of two categories: A.) funky and cool but a little less than state-of-the-art, or B.) top notch technologically, but sterile, with no atmosphere. Ardent Studios is the only one I've ever worked in which is both first-class sonically and incredibly cool, vibe-wise. You feel like you can get as artistic and esoteric as you want, without compromising any sound quality. That's a very rare combination.
We recorded part of our debut album there, 'Spills And Thrills,' and we tracked completely live in the huge, almost church-like A-room. We wanted that “high ceiling” room sound on the drums, which would not have been possible in a smaller studio. I was in a vocal booth and my guitar amp was isolated with baffling, but other than that, we were all in the same room at the same time, cutting live just like at a gig. The intention was to overdub nothing but backup vocals, if at all possible. Of course, we did end up overdubbing a few things, but all in all, those tracks are still about 80% live. We could have done that in other studios, but certainly not with the relaxed, artist-friendly attitude you get from all the Ardent staff.
We live in an era when most recording is being done at home, on computers, and one of the arguments for this is that the artist is completely empowered and independent, and is not forced to sell an arm and a leg to pay for studio time. While this is certainly true, it is a tradeoff. For one thing, there's no substitute for the kind of classic analog equipment and acoustically tuned rooms found at Ardent. And recording the way we did, with the full-band-live-in-the-studio approach, would be impossible to do in a home studio.
At Ardent, you feel just as free to get creative and take risks there as you would in front of your demo rig at home, but you can do it with a full band, live on the spot, and the results you will get on tape (or hard drive) will have all the warmth, richness, and complexity of the classic records we all grew up on. And no other studio gives you that almost mystical feeling of being close to greatness; if you're a Big Star fan like I am, it's always in the back of your mind while working there. (Of course, it's hard not to think of Big Star when Jody Stephens drops by the session to say hi!)
For some kinds of music, you have to use a real studio. And for those kinds of sessions, I've never encountered a better facility than Ardent. It was an honor and a pleasure to get to work there.
—John Paul Keith
The Ardent Sessions Presents: John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives | The Vinyl District Podcast [103Mgs] (Mp3)
Enter to win John Paul Keith and the One Four Fives' 'Spills and Thrills' on vinyl by simply leaving a comment, your name, and a contact email address in the comments to this post. We'll choose one winner each Friday for that week's giveaway which ALSO includes the entire Ardent Music catalog. (That's just 2 artists at this point, but who's counting?)
To hear more great Ardent Sessions please visit Ardent Presents.
Posted by Jon at 9:31 AM
Thursday, April 29, 2010
I have a strong passion for film and – like pop music – I acknowledge the kitsch and novelty of the medium as much as I embrace it. An example of this is dance sequences, which is like the film equivalent of having a spoken word bridge in a pop song; it’s a stylized technique that adds another layer of genre to the overall piece.
Film has a long history of illustrious dance sequences, most recently including Marc Webb’s Five Hundred Days of Summer (2009) and Tom Ford’s A Single Man (2010). Often, dance sequences become the most memorable scene of a film. They somehow always manage to steal the show, and leave a lasting imprint on the audience’s memory.
I have come up with a small list of some of my all time favorite dance scenes in film history.
BANDE A PART (1964)
VIVRE SA VIE (1962)
FASTER PUSSYCAT KILL KILL (1965)
PULP FICTION (1994)
BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS (1970)
VIVA LAS VEGAS (1964)
GENTLEMAN PREFER BLONDES (1953)
SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER (1977)
MARY POPPINS (1964)
WEST SIDE STORY (1961)
IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER (1955)
SWING TIME (1936)
Posted by Jon at 9:44 AM
The seasoned TVD reader probably saw this coming from a mile away: theme week = sweet, sweet giveaway. . . and our stay with Gold Motel will be no different.
As we mentioned yesterday, Gold Motel's playing two nights in our backyard and we've got tickets for both of them as well as the debut EP for two select winners. You've got your choice between Thursday's (4/29) show at DC9 here in the District or Friday night (4/30) at M.I.C.A. in Baltimore.
We're just going to ask you to plead your case in the comments to this post as to why you should win the tickets for the night of your choice as well as the EP. Let us know in which city you'd like to see the band (and leave us some contact info!) and we'll choose a winner before noon on the day of each gig. Now. . . go!
Gold Motel - Make Me Stay (Mp3)
Gold Motel - Perfect In My Mind (Mp3)
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
Brooklyn, New York, Austin, and Nashville are all major musical cities with very recognizable musical sounds.
Chicago, however, still seems to be searching for a musical identity that reflects the city's up-beat, classic, easy going nature. There's a smart, quirky pop movement happening in Chicago and the rest of the US deserves to be let in on all the fun we're having.
Here are the five songs I feel best represent the Chicago pop scene:
Empty Gun (Mp3)
She Did It With Her Eyes (Mp3)
This Is Me Smiling
Mixin' Up Adjectives (Mp3)
The Hush Sound
Love You Much Better (Mp3)
Various Kitchen Utensils (Mp3)
Posted by Jon at 2:29 PM
As much as I'm often loathe to admit it, Pitchfork was spot-on this morning with their review of DC native Laura Burhenn's new release as The Mynabirds, 'What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood.'
A despite the title of the new track, you can count us among the cheer-leading hordes as well.
The Mynabirds - Let The Record Go (Mp3)
Posted by Jon at 1:16 PM
John Doe's out on the road playing a couple of shows on the East Coast this spring with legendary X band member and former wife, Exene Cervenka, and the first date on the tour stops at Iota this Thursday night - right here in our own backyard.
As a founding member of punk monoliths X, he seized his rightful place as one of the most influential musicians in American alternative music in the 1980’s, clearing a path for the revolution in that genre that would take place a decade later. Since launching his solo career in 1990 with the dusty road-poetry of Meet John Doe, John has produced six stunning roots rock albums of frightening honesty and vision. A Year in the Wilderness, 2008’s highly successful EP, The Golden State, and his most recent outing with The Sadies, Country Club—a record of classic country covers—are no exception.
I know I could write a ton on X and John and Exene, so we'll offer a pair of tickets for Thursday night's show in exchange for your comment in the comments to this post in regard to the legendary duo. The best one (with contact info!) grabs the tickets for Thursday's unique event. We'll choose a winner by 9AM on Thursday morning!
John Doe - The Golden State (Mp3)
The Thin White Duke era of David Bowie’s career is by far my favorite Bowie alter-ego and persona. During this period, some of my favorite Bowie material was also recorded (i.e 1976′s Station to Station).
The Duke was not as eccentric as Bowie’s previous personas, nor as conceptual. The Duke was the product of the mass amounts of cocaine Bowie was taking turning this time period, causing Bowie’s personality to become as alarming as it was temperamental. At this point in his life, Bowie claimed to have lived off of “red peppers, cocaine, and milk.”
David Bowie - Golden Years (Mp3)
David Bowie - TVC15 (Mp3)
David Bowie - Stay (Mp3)
Posted by Jon at 7:41 AM
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Posted by Jon at 9:35 AM
Monday, April 26, 2010
This week we've asked the members of Gold Motel to toss out a few musical inspirations beyond the norm in these parts—those being vinyl and record stores—and they've come up with some interesting stuff indeed. First up, guitarist Eric Hehr. —Ed.
“My breaking heart and I agree / That you and I / Will never be
So with my best, my very best I am settin’ you free / Oh honey, / I wish you shelter from the storm / A cozy fire to keep you warm
Oh but most of all I wish you love. / But most of all, when snowflakes fall / I wish you love. / But most of all, when snowflakes fall, / I wish you love.”
—Sam Cooke, I Wish You Love
I could write volumes upon volumes on what Sam Cooke’s voice means to me. More so than any other vocalist – or musician for that matter – Sam Cooke has always hit my ears the hardest – has pulled my heartstrings the most. To me, his voice epitomizes perfection. It sums up that unexplainable sense of nostalgic wistfulness; evoking memories of youth, heartbreak, and evocative restlessness. Somewhere within his golden vocal chords, Sam Cooke was able to emulate the power of the soul into heart-felt notes and heart-breaking melodies that capture the core of emotional depth and sensitivity. His voice is spiritual and secular, sophisticated and effortless, passionate and strenuous, and is layered with an indefinable sense of feeling. Unfortunately, despite my attempts to try, the irrefutable beauty of Sam Cooke’s voice cannot be put into words.
Famed German writer, Goethe, put it the best when he said, “Music begins where words end.” Often, I find that the most beautiful things in life are also the most ambiguous. They defy logic and reason, and induce thoughts and emotions within us that cannot be rationalized or explained. They provoke us to reflect or react, and the music of Sam Cooke allows me to simultaneously do both.
Sam Cooke died violently under cheap and gaudy circumstances in Los Angeles in 1964 at the young age of thirty-three. At the time, Sam Cooke was called “The Black Elvis” for disguising soul and gospel music as mainstream pop music, the same way that Presley disguised pop music as soul and R&B. He was a prodigy across the board: a songwriter and a producer who owned his own publishing company and record label. He had more hit singles than most artist could ever wish for – most of which displayed gospel singing without reverence: “’Chain Gang,’ is one of the strangest pop records of all time and is taken for granted: a black-history buff moved by an actual Georgia road gang to purloin their sound and banalize their longing for freedom. “Who else but Cooke,” Talty asks, “could see this tableau, the prisoners chanting in a call-and-response pattern as old as slavery itself, and think ‘Top 40 hit’?” (The Village Voice).
At the height of his career, Cooke was at his lowest point in his personal life. He was lost spiritually, confused emotionally, and had taken comfort in excessive drinking and drug use. His indulgences led him to a lonely death in a shoddy motel room; a bottle of whiskey and a copy of The Bible found lying next to each other in the passenger seat of his car.
Perhaps the most charming aspect of Cooke’s music is also the most charming of his aspect of his life: it is both confident and tragic. It is both a representation of his glanderous pop dreams, and the internal emptiness of falling asleep next to cheap hookers; the righteousness of the Civil Rights movement and the swimming pool death of his one year old son. It is the embodiment of joyous late nights of infinity and bittersweet mornings of expiration; loneliness cloaked in bravado. If Elvis channeled the depths of gospel music through the soul stirring voice of a Southern white boy, Cooke held up the other half of the bargain. His voice and music is a poignant transparency that comes across as honest, naïve, and unpremeditated.
—Eric Hehr, Guitar | Gold Motel
Sam Cooke - You Send Me (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - Summertime (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - Cupid (Mp3)
Sam Cooke - Sad Moon (Mp3)
I'm working on a theme week to come called 'Lil' Triggers' - things that set the mind off on a memory as a result of a song or something.
So, I'll tell you what it was with Gold Motel. It was the 70's era George Harrison-esque guitar line in 'Make Me Stay' that well, had me lingering as the rest of the band won me over, post-sinewy 70's guitar break. I settled in and was made to feel quite welcome, thank you.
Leading up to two dates in our neck of the woods— Thursday night at DC9 and Friday night at M.I.C.A. in Baltimore— Gold Motel will be hanging out with us here at TVD HQ this week as we turn the blog over to the band to work their charms upon ya. And of course you'll have an opportunity to win tickets for both shows in our area as well as copies of their debut EP.
We'll kick our week off with front person Greta Morgan's Gold Motel 101:
Introducing: Gold Motel | When my other band, The Hush Sound, called an indefinite hiatus in the end of 2008, I immediately began plotting my next move. Literally, I moved across the country from Chicago to Los Angeles to write an album in the sun-soaked hills of Southern California. Figuratively, I moved through a variety of musical styles until I arrived at a sound I considered different enough from The Hush Sound, while remaining true to my taste. Listening to tons of Motown, Elvis Costello, The Beach Boys, The Kinks, and 60’s girl groups, I honed in on what I wanted to create–a collection of summery songs that are both hopeful and wistful; an album that represents to me the essence of a carefree summer; a sound that is modern, while honoring the crowning achievements of pop music.
I returned to Chicago to record with good friend Dan Duszynski (of Chicago band This Is Me Smiling) and we tracked “Perfect In My Mind” and “Make Me Stay” in a few quick days. Soon enough, we wanted to make an official group to finish the full-length album with us and start touring. We teamed up with other This Is Me Smiling members Matt Minx (bass) and Adam Kaltenhauser (drums), and The Yearbooks’ Eric Hehr (guitar).
Gold Motel played our first show in December 2009, followed by a week opening sold-out gigs for Butch Walker, did a West Coast headlining tour, and are about to embark on an East Coast headlining tour with L.A. friends Family Of The Year.
Our full-length debut, Summer House, will be released on June 1st. Our music video for “We’re On The Run”, the opening track from Summer House, is being premiered exclusively through AOL / Spinner today at spinner.com. Hope to catch you all on the road!
—Greta and Gold Motel
Gold Motel - Make Me Stay (Mp3)
Gold Motel - Perfect In My Mind (Mp3)
Posted by Jon at 8:15 AM
Friday, April 23, 2010
April Skies | Greetings from Laurel Canyon. . . spring time is here, well. . . at least it’s supposed to be?
Seems like so much is going on of late, tons of bands coming through LA around the Coachella Festival. Mercury in retrograde, dreaded tax deadlines, volcanic dust, birthdays, weddings, and gourmet food trucks. As it’s going here in California, by summer’s end all cuisine will be served out of a truck in “taco form.”
Just when you think the sun is going to come out it rains. With these thoughts in mind this week’s mix was inspired by looking up, in fact to the sky. My first thought was, “what’s next?” but let’s leave that thought behind for now.
As it poured Monday night, I started building this mix by listening to the obvious rain songs of old; “Happy When it Rains” and "Rainy Days and Mondays.” I was definitely digging on The Mary Chain and settled with “April Skies” as the lynch-pin of the set. I quickly compiled a ton of songs and spent the week narrowing to these 15 tracks—a rather moody and mellow Idelic Hour.
Highlights in the mix: dropping old locals Joni Mitchell and The Byrds with new songs by The National, Frightened Rabbit, Les Blanks and Avi Buffalo. The result—it’s a beautiful day in the canyon!
idelicsounds.com | @sidelic
The Idelic Hour [4/23/2010] (Mp3, 85Mg)
Posted by Jon at 3:31 PM
"When the invitation first came to be part of the Ardent Sessions, there was little to no hesitation. Of course, that's a yes. Ardent had served as a birthing place for so many artists that I revere, love and swear by and I sprung at the chance to be able to spend an evening soaking up the aura of such a special place. In many ways, it was a secret excuse to get to peak inside such a hallowed place. We spent most of our free time wandering around the halls, pulling one another aside to point out cool pieces of the space. In many ways, the toughest part about our trip to Memphis, was feeling like we didn't soil the grounds. How do you not feel a little silly knowing what has proceeded you in those rooms?
We walked from instrument to instrument, hammering out piano notes, running our hands across beautiful vintage gear. Studios are always a fun and childlike place, but this was different.
The most comforting part of all this, was to discover that Ardent was still filled with amazing people. People who really loved music, who were excited by it, loved discovering it, uncovering it. Each person we met that night had a fun glimmer in their eyes. They had been there so much longer than us and you got the sense that it was still fun for them. They loved that place, they loved what it meant to people, and they loved extending that legacy.
As I worked my way through my set, going from guitar to piano, the string players ringing through the room, the drums cracking, I felt like I was getting a unique chance to hear my songs differently. It was like picking up an old acoustic in a guitar store and playing something you've written or hearing your song being played in another room. Somehow, it feels different and fun and exciting.
My only regret is that we didn't have a chance to stay longer. To actually deconstruct some songs, try them with entirely different arrangements. Somehow, using the space, and the experience, to create a truly unique, Ardent-inspired work. We'd love to come back and continue our conversation with that amazing, amazing space."
The Ardent Sessions Presents: Keegan Dewitt | The Vinyl District Podcast [83Mgs] (Mp3)
Enter to win Keegan Dewitt's 'Islands' on vinyl by simply leaving a comment, your name, and a contact email address in the comments to this post. We'll choose one winner each Friday for that week's giveaway which ALSO includes the entire Ardent Music catalog. (That's just 2 artists at this point, but who's counting?)
To hear more great Ardent Sessions please visit Ardent Presents.
Posted by Jon at 7:57 AM
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Brit-indie stalwarts and NME mainstays, Ash have been hard at work over the past number of months on their A-Z series—a series of 26 singles released individually as digital downloads and 7" singles, released and pressed as the band writes and records them.
In a NME interview vocalist and guitarist Tim Wheeler opined "We wanted to be the first people to do it like this. I think it'll be great for our fans waiting every two weeks knowing they're going to get a song and wondering what it'll be like. It'll be fun."
Bassist Mark Hamilton also spoke of the merits of releasing in an alternative way, "We thought we’d come up with a different model where we never really had to be actually be away, that might work better. That was one of the reasons. We had the freedom when launching our own label as well, to try something different, so we’re going to give it a go. I think if it works, a lot of people might copy it."
Out today (4/20) arrives the fruit of Ash's 'A-Z Series' to date compiled on one CD for the first time. It's the singles A-M, plus the first track released, “Return of White Rabbit,” and also four bonus tracks.
But this being the ye olde Vinyl District, we knew you'd want to get your hands on some vinyl to herald the release of the CD compilation, so we set about rummaging for something special to offer—and we've come up with a one-of-a-kind, signed 7" test pressing of the newest single, 'Dare to Dream' — Single N. (That's it up there in the photo.)
Want the one-of-a-kind Ash 7" mailed directly to your place of residence? Get creative ala Ash's A-Z series in the comments to this post (with contact info!) and tell us why you deserve to be the bearer of this special signed item.
One grand prize winner will get the 7" and a free subscription to the digital A-Z Series. You'll get the first 14 singles (A-N) now and will receive singles O-Z as they're released, plus receive free exclusive bonus tracks. One runner up will receive the subscription to the the A-Z Series alone.
You've got until Tuesday, 4/27 to suitably impress us - now go get creative!
Posted by Jon at 1:36 PM
Hm. I'm starting to become troubled by the 'under wraps' feel of the art up there. Methinks this blog needs to breathe again.
First it's taken away, then it's given back.
Infection is a hazard of mercy.
Untitled #1 (Mp3)
Untitled #2 (Mp3)
Untitled #3 (Mp3)
Untitled #4 (Mp3)
Untitled #5 (Mp3)
Posted by Jon at 11:07 AM