Monday, June 30, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | Jeff Beck "Beck-Ola"

In the 70's, the portion of the Jersey Shore where my family moved to known as Shark River Hills, was a mini-melting pot of various nationalities all taking refuge from either northern New Jersey (like us) or New York City. Families upon diverse families migrated several miles south and took up residence minutes away from the Atlantic. For example, within three or so blocks from my home, there were the French, the Belgians, the Russians, the Italians, the Irish, the Argentineans--and well, I could go on.

Many of these families also had children and as things normally go, we'd play at each other's house and earn a glimpse of traditions and practices not known in our own homes. Happily, I was handed a world view at an early age, fostered by going from house-to-house and door-to-door and being welcomed inside, which seems to have engendered a general acceptance of diversity.

Which brings me to the various musical families I, and this blog, visit from time to time. Some weeks it's a knock on the door of the Post Punk variety, then a stop over at the Glam residence, a chat with the New Wave neighbors, a sit down dinner with the FM Rockers, or a chill-out on the back porch with the 70's AM Gems. (I like the Metal family around the corner too, but is it me--they always seem to be a bit well, ...drunk?)

This week we'll break bread with a few neighbors who don't visit the blog all that often--those blues-rock pioneers from the 70's, or as I politely refer to 'em--the Career Revivalists. They're a bunch of great folks to be certain--just keep your daughters at a bit of a distance. And you might want to chain the liquor cabinet. Just sayin'.

Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart - All Shook Up (Mp3)
Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart - Jailhouse Rock (Mp3)
Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart - Plynth (Water Down The Drain) (Mp3)
Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart - Spanish Boots (Mp3)
Jeff Beck with Rod Stewart - The Hangman's Knee (Mp3)

(Hey, did anyone notice we took down Grandma's wallpaper and repainted?)

Friday, June 27, 2008

TVD's Weekend Shots

Earlier this week, DCRTV reported, "'Father' Of FM Stereo Dies--Carl Eilers, often called the "father" of FM stereo radio, has died at age 83. A 50-year employee of Zenith Electronics in Chicago, Eilers co-developed the production of high-fidelity stereo sound over the airwaves. In 1961, the Federal Communications Commission adopted the Stereo FM Broadcast Standard, which is still in use." The Chicago Tribune has more here.

I note in his obituary that Mr. Eilers is survived by his wife, Sandy, a son, John; a daughter, Janet Ames; and a sister, Marie Maxwell. But really, isn't he survived by ALL of us who grew up on FM radio?

I wish I would have read this earlier--I would have sent flowers. In lieu of flowers then, a few FM rock radio classics for your Weekend Shots in memory of Mr. Eilers. And frankly, in memory of radio in general. (RIP)

Mott The Hoople - All The Young Dudes.mp3
Manfred Mann's Earth Band - Blinded By The Light.mp3
ELO - Can't Get It Out of My Head.mp3
The Doobie Brothers - China Grove.mp3
Foreigner - Cold As Ice.mp3
Steely Dan - Do It Again.mp3
Alice Cooper - Eighteen.mp3
Steve Miller Band - Fly Like An Eagle.mp3
Peter Frampton - Show Me The Way.mp3
Deep Purple - Smoke On The Water.mp3

TVD | Friday @ Random

(I know, breathe deep.) So, I was hanging out over at Mick's place last week and the talk turned to our first concerts attended. For me--you probably guessed it by this (awesome!) cover--'twas Loverboy and opening up was this little combo from San Francisco--Huey Lewis and the News. (I think they had a hit or two, right?) Man, I was all about it--I think I was even sporting the bandanna around the head too, rather UN-ironic. Good, good times...but I'm CERTAIN better firsts were had. So, YOUR first bite of the apple, TVD reader?

Meanwhile, as you work for the weekend this Friday, my first time sounded JUST. Like. This. (Like it never will again.)

Loverboy - Teenage Overdose (Mp3)
Loverboy - Lady Of The 80's (Mp3)
Loverboy - D.O.A. (Mp3)
Loverboy - Turn Me Loose (Mp3)
Loverboy - The Kid Is Hot Tonight (Mp3)

TVD Ticket Giveaway | Ladytron | Saturday (6/28) at The OuternationalMusic Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion

I'm hanging out at TVD HQ last night and the red phone rings -- Ladytron on line three. I'm sorta averse to talking on the phone but what the hell, it's the whole band on speaker. "Big fans of the blog, coming to DC with the OuternationalMusic Tour, blah, blah, blah, how about you guys give away some free tickets, blah, blah, blah." But I'm down...I've got this thing for Liverpool, y'see and this band in particular.

I say, "Listen, Datarock's the very same night--I need some hook to set this contest apart--whatcha got?" There's this awkward pause where I could TELL they're pulling up TVD on the computer. I think it was Mira who picked up, "Oh yea? Well, how about we give away TWO sets of all day passes to the festival?!" (Good, I'm thinking, but we can do better.) "How about we sweeten it?" I say, polishing off my third mojito with that annoying, bottom of the glass straw noise. (Awkward pause #2.) I can hear some rummaging now. "OK, about a limited edition tour poster...a Ladytron totebag...and fuck all, the new CD too--the whole bag o' swag for each winner?!"

"Ladytron," I says, "you got yourself a deal."

Don't let 'em down folks--they put together one hell of a package. We've got TWO winners for this Saturday's OuternationalMusic Tour at Merriweather Post Pavilion. Ladytron joins DC's very own Thievery Corporation and TV on the Radio for this (semi)day-long event--so think big kids. Two winners each get a pair of tickets and all the swag the band could find sitting around their flat. Give it to us good and hard in the comments with contact info and we'll choose a winner by Friday at noon. (Now, where's my mojito...I put it down SOMEplace....)

Ladytron - Black Cat (Mp3)

Official Website
Official MySpace

Thursday, June 26, 2008

TVD Ticket Giveaway | Datarock | Saturday (6/28) at The Rock And Roll Hotel

So, I'm talking with the Datarock guys and they're like, "Jon, Jon...we get what you're trying to do this week with the real random old New Wave records, it's cool and all--but man, this shit's BORING. How can we help?"

"OK, OK" I thought, "maybe you have a point....but short of handing TVD a pair of free tickets to give away for the show this Saturday at the R&R Hotel with openers Ki:Theory and Sneakers In The Club and tossing in a free CD AND a tee shirt to the lucky winner--I just don't see how you could possibly help?" Fredrik looked at Ket-Ill, Ket-Ill looked at Fredrik, ...and a plan was set in motion.

Down with Datarock? Let us hear from you in the talk-back box and you'll get the tickets, the CD, and the tee shirt. No arm twisting necessary--just be convincing and leave us some contact info. We'll choose a winner by noon on Friday.

Datarock - Computer Camp Love (Mp3)

Official Website
Official MySpace

TVD's Daily Wax | Blanket of Secrecy "Ears Have Walls"

OK, so I admit it. Maybe this wasn't the brightest idea to highlight these random New Wave LP's this week. Seemed like a good idea at the time, I guess. Playback on some of these tracks has left me pretty underwhelmed. (So much for building up one's blog, huh?) I guess those Datarock guys were on to something.

But if there's an LP that will stand the test of time, it's this Blanket of Secrecy LP--largely because they didn't adhere to the trappings of the era and made a pretty darn smart and at times Beatle-y record. I'd link to thank Mr. Mine For Life for putting this old favorite under my nose again and for enlightening me as to the origin of 'Tinker','Tailor' and 'Soldier' -- the mysterious pseudonyms behind the record's creators.

Blanket of Secrecy - Say You Will (Mp3)
Blanket of Secrecy - Love Me Too (Mp3)
Blanket of Secrecy - Remember Me And You (Mp3)
Blanket of Secrecy - Something I Don't Need (Mp3)
Blanket of Secrecy - Tell Me Baby (Mp3)

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | A Drop In The Gray "Certain Sculptures"

"The good news about this California-based Scottish-American trio is that they're not as pretentious or as distant as the name. The bad news is they're close to it. Utterly without personality or purpose, the eleven slickly produced tracks (with titles like "Heartache Feeds Heartache" and "Past Your Frame") blur into one another, with the smooth, modern sound of guitars and keyboards approximating an updated Moody Blues. Except for Dan Phillips' cloyingly over-emotional and gimmicky vocals, these sculptures are faultless to a fault."

Man, I'm in love with these old reviews from Trouser Press. (The first two tracks really aren't THAT cringe-worthy. It WAS '85 after all.)

A Drop In The Gray - All The Same (Mp3)
A Drop In The Gray - Wide Eye One (Mp3)
A Drop In The Gray - Fall And Cry (Mp3)
A Drop In The Gray - Heartache Feeds Heartache (Mp3)
A Drop In The Gray - Turn Me Round (Mp3)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | Classix Nouveaux "Night People"

Trouser Press illuminates, "This quartet of poseurs, led by singer/multi-instrumentalist Sal Solo (whose totally bald pate and permanently serious expression make him resemble a constipated Yul Brynner), uses both synthesizers and regular rock tools (guitar, bass, drums, sax) to turn out talented if shallow dance rock that's utterly pretentious but not unattractive.

Night People (retitled Classix Nouveaux in the US) actually includes a couple of enjoyable tracks ("Guilty" stands out) that are straightforward and melodic enough to be recognizable as songs; the remainder of the record consists of windy instrumentals and foolish sci-fi tales."

So yea, I'm not anticipating a spike in readership this week if anyone asks. But man, did I ever love me some "Guilty" back in the day...the tune and the video.

Classix Nouveaux - Guilty (Mp3)
Classix Nouveaux - Tokyo (Mp3)
Classix Nouveaux - Inside Outside (Mp3)
Classix Nouveaux - Nasty Little Green Men (Mp3)
Classix Nouveaux - The Protector Of Night (Mp3)

Monday, June 23, 2008

TVD Remembers | George Carlin

Bob Lefsetz in an email that just arrived, "It's funny when a guy like Carlin dies. Because he still lives. Not only all those HBO specials and records, but the routines in our minds. He's changed our lives. You see, Carlin's comedy never got dated. Because being human never really changes.

But now Carlin is gone. Kinda weird, because he was an inspiration, a beacon for all us wannabe truth tellers. If Carlin could do it, maybe we could too. Now, the path is only illuminated by his legacy, there will be no more new words, no more new routines. No more appearances on late night TV where he questions the conventional wisdom, where he states he doesn't vote because it doesn't make a difference. I'm a big believer in casting my ballot, but I can see that George is right. The fat cats win no matter what. The little guy is squeezed out. George was not a star who wanted to live above the fray, he never forgot his roots, he was interested in the little guy, and the little guy loved him for it.

Everybody I know who interacted with Carlin said they had a conversation. His stardom did not eviscerate his humanity. But his poor heart stopped him cold.

Seventy one is too young to die. Seems old, but when you get there, or see that a man running for President is that age, you realize that as a septuagenarian, you've still got a lot of living to do. Hopefully.

George's candle has been snuffed out, but his memory will live on. If I think of my pantheon of inspirations, I put him right up there with Tom Wolfe and Frank Zappa. Wolfe the observer and Zappa the questioner. That's what George Carlin was. An observer who was not afraid to question the status quo. I will be continued to be inspired by him. Hopefully, you will too."

George Carlin - Seven Words You Can't Say On TV (Mp3)

George Carlin - Ten Commandments (Mp3)

TVD's Daily Wax | Les Enfants "Touche'"

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that after a random list of songs like last Friday's, there's always a shout-out in the comments section for one or two in particular. Either they evoke the hallowed "back-in-the-day", or just fond memories, or recollections of a particular show, or even sometimes someone's hearing something for the first time and chimes in with the "wow - cool!"

And I appreciate all of that, but lately have been struck by the fact that availability and access have been the undercurrent of not just my taste in tunes but my record and CD collection as a whole. Sure, I might have liked some particular song when played on the radio and may have even made a point of seeking it out, but very often that 12" Import didn't make it into said Import Bin at my local record stores. So I did without, only to either track them down later on ebay or download the material amidst the family of music blogs that I read each day. And if the comment section reveals anything, it's that I'm not alone in this -- availability and access.

But then there were the LPs that did indeed make their way to New Jersey and later DC--many of which I had the luxury of setting aside for myself as a record store employee upon their delivery to the store. (It's a fact folks, the record store employees get first dibs.) So, this week I offer some dubious 'set-asides' or some lucky finds from the era when yes, you could have heard a song on the radio (or catch the video on something new called the "MTV") and find yourself a number of hours later tearing off the shrinkwrap.

All of this week's LPs are sitting on my shelves as I type this, but as an added nuance, the vinyl rips have been downloaded from the aforementioned family of bloggers who, I was surprised to take note of last week, over time have recreated a collection of LPs I sought out, put into semi-constant rotation, then just as easily cast aside. But they do evoke the hallowed "back-in-the-day", or just fond memories, or recollections of a particular show. For better or worse. You guys decide which...

Screaming from the radio back in, oh--was it '84?--came Ireland's Les Enfants. Sort of U2-y, Alarm-y--and chock full of hooks and bluster. The always awesome New Wave Outpost is to be thanked for this Blast o' The Past and the greatly missed Yesterday and Today Records in Rockville, Maryland is responsible for the vinyl version of this in my library.

Les Enfants - Shed A Tear (There You Go) (Mp3)
Les Enfants - Dreaming Of You (Mp3)
Les Enfants - Funny (Mp3)
Les Enfants - Nothing Has Changed (Mp3)
Les Enfants - Slipaway (Mp3)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

TVD | Friday @ Random

From a wine-infused, pre-birthday ramble two weeks back on the blog, "Fast note about the Nick Gilder track that kicks off this 10...I have played this tune NONSTOP all year. I don't know what it is. There's something that just kills's dated, sure...but dammit, man...where's the band ripping this sound off? Straight up the center - no mathrock time changes - just eager and angst. It's simple really. But this is a lousy Mp3 conversion that I found on the net...I'll get to an official one next week...think of it as if coming through your AM radio. Together we'll work on the harmonies on the chorus part..." we're sharing...!" So, you've had two weeks...ready to sing the harmonies on the chorus all 70's like? | I'm hoping a few of you haven't made any plans yet for next weekend. Not to let the cat out of the bag prematurely, but we have some pretty cool ticket packages to give away next week. See ya then, huh?

Nick Gilder - We'll Work It Out (Mp3)
Nick Gilder - (She's) One Of The Boys (Mp3)
Nick Gilder - All Because Of Love (Mp3)
Nick Gilder - Hot Child In The City (LP Version) (Mp3)
Nick Gilder - Here Comes The Night (Mp3)

TVD's Daily Wax | John Lennon & Yoko Ono "Double Fantasy"

I know, I know...was it a "return to form" or more of just a ...return? For me STILL, this LP is overshadowed by the events that came to pass shortly after its release. That is to say, the tracks soon became maudlin and then clich├ęd. And their origin was bathed in homespun, househusbandly sweetness when I indeed prefer my Lennon acerbic, acidic, and animated.

So, I toss it out to the readership...does this one belong here amidst the "return to form" theme? With an honest appraisal of the tracks for this post, I'm on the fence...and should I have included ANY of the Yoko tracks? Hmm.

John Lennon - (Just Like) Starting Over (Mp3)
John Lennon - Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy) (Mp3)
John Lennon - I'm Losing You (Mp3)
John Lennon - Woman (Mp3)
John Lennon - Watching The Wheels (Mp3)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

TVD Ticket Giveaway | Maria Taylor | Thursday (6/19) at The Rock And Roll Hotel

Dreamy Nebraskan songstress Maria Taylor (formally of Azure Ray) hits the Hotel this Thursday night with Jonathan Rice and she's given TVD one pair of free tickets to pass on to you TVD reader, along with a copy of her previous release "Lynn Teeter Flower." She's touring in support of "Savannah Drive", her recent collaboration with Andy LeMaster that gets an official release next month, although you can indeed snap it up on iTunes right here and now.

Let us know to what heights you'd scale to score the tickets and a copy of "Lynn Teeter Flower" in the comments section along with some contact info and we'll choose the lucky Hotel-goer by noon on Thursday. So, let's hear from you! (Effusiveness encouraged.)

Maria Taylor with Andy LeMaster - Tell Me (Mp3)

Official Site
Official MySpace

TVD's Daily Wax | Paul McCartney "Flowers in the Dirt"

I've been referring to Wikipedia a lot this week to confirm my suspicions that this week's selections are the proverbial "return to form" that I think they are. I'm digging for more of a generalized consensus rather than just my own gut instincts. And with this McCartney LP, I think my instincts remain intact. I mean, it was the first time I was truly interested in a McCartney release for quite a while--Press to Play, anyone?

From Wiki, " After the meagre sales that greeted Press to Play, McCartney realised he needed to work much harder on his follow-up. Thus, he not only teamed up with several different producers, but also spent the better part of eighteen months perfecting Flowers in the Dirt. A highlight of the sessions was McCartney's unlikely alliance with Elvis Costello, with whom he composed many new songs. McCartney greatly enjoyed the partnership, even finding that Costello mirrored John Lennon in certain aspects of his personality. Costello would also appear on the album, even co-singing "You Want Her Too" (an update of "The Girl Is Mine") with Paul. Another celebrity guest included was friend David Gilmour from Pink Floyd on his trademark electric guitar.

Finally, early in 1989, the project was ready. In May, the Beatlesque "My Brave Face" was released as a single and promptly gave McCartney a US hit, reaching #25, while reaching #18 in the UK. In June, Flowers in the Dirt was released to high anticipation and immediately entered the UK charts at #1, garnering very receptive reviews from all around. In the US, the reaction was better than Press to Play, with the album reaching #21, staying on the charts for a year and going gold, though it still sold beneath expectations. The second single, "This One" reached #18 in the UK, as did "My Brave Face". The follow-ups "Figure Of Eight"/"Ou Est Le Soleil?" and "Put It There" would all be minor UK hits.

Sure seems like a "return to form" to me. And while you're downloading and listening to these tracks today, go on over and wish Sir Paul a Happy Birthday. He turns 66 today.

Paul McCartney - My Brave Face (Mp3)
Paul McCartney - This One (Mp3)
Paul McCartney - You Want Her Too (Mp3)
Paul McCartney - We Got Married (Mp3)
Paul McCartney - Distractions (Mp3)

(A tip o' the pin to JC for these 'Flowers' Mp3's.)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | T-Rex "Dandy in the Underworld"

Picking up with the "solid return to form" theme from yesterday is this selection from the Wikipedia entry for 'Dandy in the Underworld', Marc Bolan and T-Rex's last official LP release, "At the time of the album's release Marc Bolan and T.Rex were on a UK tour, supported by The Damned. The album and tour were notable for marking a return to form for the band. Dandy in the Underworld gathered the most consistently positive reviews for any T.Rex album in five years. Having fallen from critical and commercial favour the band had endured some fiercely hostile press but NME, who had been amongst the most negative, noted of the album: "very listenable, well arranged immaculately played." . . . The album was praised for the strength of the songwriting and Bolan's vocal performances. The title track was released as a single but failed to chart. "I Love to Boogie" and "The Soul of My Suit" did achieve chart placings in the UK. After three commercially weak albums, Dandy in the Underworld was regarded by many T.Rex fans as a comeback for the band.

Thanks for falling right in line there, Wikipedia. Pitchfork noted in tandem with a 2006 reissue, ". . . the album finds a reinvigorated Bolan crafting some of his best hooks and calibrating his catchiest grooves in years. The cosmic "Crimson Moon", the infectious "I'm a Fool for You Girl", and the album's centerpiece, "Jason B. Sad", alternate between carefree and cautious, conjuring a gravity that counterbalances the upbeat, stripped-down rhythms.

Sadly, this was to be an unrealized upswing in Bolan's career as he passed away on September 16, 1977 when the car being driven by his wife struck a sycamore tree -- two weeks before his 30th birthday.

T-Rex - Dandy In The Underworld (Mp3)
T-Rex - Crimson Moon (Mp3)
T-Rex - I'm A Fool For You Girl (Mp3)
T-Rex - Jason B. Sad (Mp3)
T-Rex - Teen Riot Structure (Mp3)

Monday, June 16, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax | Elvis Costello "Spike"

"...a solid return to form." How many times have you read that in a review of some release from an artist with a long, established career which...let's just say, had more valleys than peaks for a while? Admittedly, amid a long career, each release can't always be a gem...and this week we'll take a look at a few mid-course corrections that seemed to right the ship for a period of time.

Trusty ol' Trouser Press supplies the background: "Costello bills himself as The Beloved Entertainer — stuffed and mounted — on the front cover of Spike, his first new album since Blood & Chocolate. Following King of America's blueprint, each of the fifteen tracks employs a different assortment of players, from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band (on "Deep Dark Truthful Mirror" and "Stalin Malone") to Paul McCartney (on the tender and touching "Veronica," one of two songs he and Costello co-wrote). Regardless of which sort of tasteful arrangement (Irish folk, acoustic pop, jazz, rock, jagged noise) or star collaborator (Chrissie Hynde, Christy Moore, Benmont Tench) he chooses for any individual song, however, the record is a testament to Costello's complete mastery. For most of the record, Costello is in rare form, conversing with the deity ("God's Comic"), ripping the lynch-mob mentality in a fact-based tale ("Let Him Dangle"), sending a withering blast at Margaret Thatcher ("Tramp the Dirt Down") and wallowing in romantic regrets ("Baby Plays Around," whose joint marital authorship lends a reassuring fictional sense to its troubled lyrics). For concerned Attractions fans, Pete Thomas puts in an appearance on one solitary song."

I can hear the EC fanatics now, "Huh - wha? Elvis NEVER had a creative career slump!" True, perhaps--but "Spike" was a straight up the center, radio and MTV-supported "...solid return to form." Right?

Elvis Costello - Deep Dark Truthful Mirror (Mp3)
Elvis Costello - Let Him Dangle (Mp3)
Elvis Costello - Pads, Paws And Claws (Mp3)
Elvis Costello - Tramp The Dirt Down (Mp3)
Elvis Costello - Veronica (Mp3)