Tuesday, September 30, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax (...and 500th Post)

Each morning I wake at 6:30am, check some headlines, and then mull over the blog posts for the day. I was struck by the notion this morning while the coffee was sputtering and brewing that, y'know - the thing about the Sex Pistols for me, and this era of punk in general is that it was truly the last time I can think of when people were "shocked and/or offended" by the antics of a bunch of snot-nose kids. Those days are over, really--the river's run dry.

Then I sat down to put some hazy thoughts together and shocked myself--"Holy...this'll be the 500th post...!" And all of this from one lazy morning as the coffee sputtered and brewed.

The Stranglers - (Get A) Grip (On Yourself) (Mp3)
The Fall - Bingo Master (Mp3)
The Adverts - Gary Gilmore's Eyes (Mp3)
Elvis Costello - Radio, Radio (Mp3)
The Buzzcocks - What Do I Get? (Mp3)

TVD Recommends...

Need a feast for the senses? Well, TVD's got two of them covered for ya. Tomorrow night at Dahlak, check out Sarah Claxton's moody and evocative photography at the opening of her one-woman exhibition, and none other than DJ Neville C. will be spinning mod, soul and garage--and there might be a Brazilian tune or two in there as well, he tells us. See ya there, right?

TVD: taking care of your midweek malaise.

Monday, September 29, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax

It's like a choice between cake or candy for me--either way you win. But when pressed to favor one continent's take on a burgeoning punk movement, I've got to go with the UK's tendency to absorb influences and regurgitate them in wholly interesting and different guises.

Now, I think it was said by good pal Shamus and blogger extraordinaire Mick over at Raiding the Vinyl Archive (as we were trolling through the US punk records last week) that both preferred the US take on the genre which evolved into artier prospects rather than dull "pub rock" as Shamus referred to it. And both do have a point. But if I'm to be a stickler for the defining aspects of the genre, the dirtier and grittier attack of the UK bands is where I find the appeal.

Television...Blondie...The Ramones...all fantastic, yet with an aspiration to reach higher highs--be they artistic or chart success--that the UK acts just didn't strive for. It was the sound of the streets--and the city--that brought a legitimacy to the movement. It was real, in a way that the Talking Heads never were and where contrivance wasn't to be confused with flamboyance ala The Dolls. 'Twas all grit and spit and safety pins.

Some 101'ers:

Nick Lowe - Heart Of The City (Mp3)
The Jam - In The City (Mp3)
The Damned - Neat Neat Neat (Mp3)
The Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen (Mp3)
The Clash - White Riot (Mp3)

Friday, September 26, 2008

TVD's Parting Shots

"...I've never thought that being a teenager is-no offense-is the absolute coolest thing you can be. I was pretty unhappy when I was a teenager, and I wouldn't want to go back to it. And these people who say, "Teenage rock 'n' roll," as if that's all that it's about, celebrating your adolescence. There are other things to rock 'n' roll and to life. And I think really rock 'n' roll is better when it reaches out to those things. One reason I like the Velvet Underground so much is that it's really adult music."

Next week: All UK punk. All the time.

X - Adult Books (Mp3)
The Ramones - Beat on the Brat (Mp3)
The Heartbreakers - Born To Lose (Mp3)
Dead Kennedys - California Uber Alles (Mp3)
Patti Smith - Free Money (Mp3)
Blondie - Hanging On The Telephone (Mp3)
The Cramps - Human Fly (Mp3)
Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Love Comes In Spurts (Mp3)
Talking Heads - Psycho Killer (Mp3)
New York Dolls- Trash (Mp3)

Mötley Crüe's Early Catalog to be Reissued on Vinyl

Just sayin.

Mötley Crüe - Looks That Kill (Mp3)
Mötley Crüe - Shout At The Devil (Mp3)
Mötley Crüe - Too Fast For Love (Mp3)

TVD | Friday @ Random

I'm going to surprise you and disagree strongly with Bangs and agree with Gene Simmons on one pertinent point made in the interview below--which also happens to be your Friday @ Random fodder.

While it might have seemed novel at the time for a band like the Talking Heads--after years and years of rock excess and pomposity--to take the stage as your regular run of the mill neighbors next door--I'll be damned if I can stomach it anymore. Style and substance CAN coexist. You know, the anti Fleet Foxes and the Hold Steadys of the world or--99% of the Pitchfork nation. The next 'punk' movement will give the finger right to this anti- pretension pretension.

And another thing while I'm at it--geez louise--get the damn laptops off the stage, ok? If you can't play it, you don't belong ON the stage. Got it? Thanks. TGIF'nF.

Lester Bangs Interview - Part One (Mp3)
Lester Bangs Interview - Part Two (Mp3)

Thursday, September 25, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax

"Good rock 'n' roll... [long pause] I don't know. I guess it's just something that makes you feel alive. It's just like, it's something that's human, and I think that most music today isn't. And it's like anything that I would want to listen to is made my human beings instead of computers and machines. To me, good rock 'n' roll also encompasses other things, like Hank Williams and Charlie Mingus and a lot of things that aren't strictly defined as rock n' roll. Rock 'n' roll is like an attitude, it's not a musical form of a strict sort. It's a way of doing things, of approaching things. Like anything can be rock 'n' roll."

"I went to see that movie the other night, The Last Waltz, and you sit through something like that in 1982 and you really see why New Wave was necessary. There they are, so smugly thanking that they're brilliant musicians or even jazz musicians just because a guy can play a solo for 10 minutes that's just scales. It's real pompous. The only trouble with New Wave is that nobody followed up on it. Everybody thought that the initial gesture was all they had to make. Richard Hell made that one album and got too lazy to make another one, or the Sex Pistols breaking up. Although it's good they broke up. But very few of them followed through. But it was really an exciting burst there for like a year, year and a half."

"I've never liked live music that much, to tell you the truth. A few people. I like the Ramones. I liked the Clash for a while. Richard Hell and the Voidoids, the Stooges back when they were around. But you know, even the Stones I never liked live that much. And now, here in New York, the club scene is just so dead. You look in the Voice every week and there's nothing happening except these bad bands in these unpleasant places. The Palladium is hardly ever open any more. See, it might sound like, "This guy is talking a real depressing line" or something, but I just think that everybody is staying in their houses and listening to their old records and everybody is sort of digging in for the long haul. One would wish that it was otherwise, but that's the way it is. And, see, I mean, to pretend that it isn't is really bad faith to the readership. My responsibility as I see it as a critic is not to help a lot of new bands sell their records. It's to help people who are buying the records to keep from making a purchase that they're going to get home and hate my guts and the band's too because it's a piece of shit. And these critics, most of them, it's much easier to help the bands, because you get more work that way and every magazine wants to print reviews that say, "This is wonderful, this is great, go out and buy it." A lot of magazines won't even print negative reviews. A friend of mine does a record review column in Esquire, and it's like five positive reviews every time. They don't want you to say anything that's bad because they don't get advertising bucks that way. So it becomes like a facet of your groovy modern lifestyle. Well fuck that shit. I don't wanna be used like that just to sell product. I ain't a shill! And if that means you say everything suck, well I don't know. I don't know where I can go really from having as bad an attitude as I do, but it's the only attitude I think that you can have. The only person I know who thinks that anything is happening in music right now is Robert Christgau. I think he's great in a lot of ways, but you know..."

-Lester Bangs, last interview with Jim DeRogatis

The Vibrators - Baby Baby (Mp3)
Mink Deville - Let Me Dream If I Want To (Amphetamine Blues) (Mp3)
The Ramones - Sheena is a Punk Rocker (Mp3)
The Dictators - Two Tub Man (Mp3)
Johnny Thunders - You Cant Put Your Arms Round A Memory (Mp3)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

TVD First Date | ...with Sad Crocodile

John Foster may have found fame in the design world but he certainly didn't encounter happiness. Performing his confessional songs under the Sad Crocodile moniker and enlisting some of the area's top talent to help out, he may well be the most honest songwriter in DC. (And it should be noted, an ardent supporter of this very blog.)

Here are the lyrics to "Holy Water Down." What more do you need to know?

she said it's been a long long way
she can barely carry the weight
she said she likes cornbread
she said she likes dangerous men

I just smiled back at her
spent my last joke on her
at least I agree with the part about the cornbread
at least I agree with the part about the cornbread

she said don't put up a fight
just fall into me tonight
I know a place where we can go
I know a place where...

now it's early Sunday morn
and I'm still late for church
not a pair of dress shoes anywhere in sight
not a goddamn tie that I can buy

she just smiles down at me
says she likes my attack
on the TV remote
if it helps God - I don't know

she said don't put up a fight
just fall into me tonight
I know a place where we can go
I know a place where...

now I truly did not know
holy water went so slow
from my mouth to my throat
if it helps God - I don't know

The track "Lawrence Hates Maurice" was written exclusively for The Vinyl District. The first person to correctly answer who the names refer to wins a limited edition silkscreen poster from Mr. Foster.

Sad Crocodile - Promised I'd Write Something Nice (Mp3)
Sad Crocodile - When The Sun Goes Down (Mp3)
Sad Crocodile - Holy Water Down (Mp3)
Sad Crocodile - Sad at Me (Mp3)
Sad Crocodile - Lawrence Hates Maurice (Mp3)

TVD's Daily Wax

"I'll probably never produce a masterpiece, but so what? I feel I have a Sound aborning, which is my own, and that Sound if erratic is still my greatest pride, because I would rather write like a dancer shaking my ass to boogaloo inside my head, and perhaps reach only readers who like to use books to shake their asses, than to be or write for the man cloistered in a closet somewhere reading Aeschylus while this stupefying world careens crazily past his waxy windows toward its last raving sooty feedback pirouette."
-Lester Bangs, "A Quick Trip Through My Adolescence", 1968

Blondie - X Offender (Mp3)
The Heartbreakers - Chinese Rocks (Mp3)
Dead Boys - Sonic Reducer (Mp3)
The Runaways - Cherry Bomb (Mp3)
New York Dolls - Personality Crisis (Mp3)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax

It’s hard for me to talk about Iggy Pop without sounding like a nauseating fangirl, so please bear with me everyone. With his band the Stooges, Iggy Pop was one of the very first acts in the nascent American punk scene. Often referred to as the “Godfather of Punk,” much of his music sounds closer to straight-up classic rock. His influence on punk is more due to his outrageous and iconic onstage antics than his musical style. He invented the stage dive and crowd surfing, was a notorious heroin addict, and was cutting himself up onstage before Isaac Brock was even born. But Iggy Pop’s compelling persona goes deeper than superficial rock-star swagger. In a classic interview with Peter Gzowski, he defined punk as “music that takes up the energies, and the bodies, and the hearts and the souls and the time and the minds of young men who give what they have to it, and give everything they have to it.” It is this fervor and sincerity that continues to make him a box-office draw after all these years. His songs are simple, energetic, and passionate, and when I listen to them I have the feeling that I’m listening to a man who’s lived through all the pain he sings about and has done the best he could with the chances he’s been given. (As a side note, he gets extra points in my book for being perhaps the only punk rocker ever to publish a scholarly article in an academic journal.) While he might not have been the most innovative musician in punk history, he’s certainly one of the most versatile and earnestly authentic.

Iggy Pop and the Stooges - I Wanna Be Your Dog (Mp3)
Iggy Pop and the Stooges - Gimme Danger (Mp3)
Iggy Pop and the Stooges - Search and Destroy (Mp3)
Iggy Pop - Passenger (Mp3)
Iggy Pop - Lust for Life (Mp3)

Monday, September 22, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax

"Nothing ever quite dies, it just comes back in a different form," Lester Bangs once wrote. And while I agree with the point he was making, I'm not sure this is such an absolute rule. To be fair, when we're discussing certain musical genres such as we did last week, what's old is new again and vice versa. Revivalists rule, or so it would seem.

But this week, we're going to draw a line in the sand and blatantly go out on a limb and profess that insofar as the 70's are concerned--and with Punk in general--no amount of revivalism will ever better the initial inspired anarchy. And it should be mentioned that there were two unique forces at work, both Stateside and in the UK. Each fueled the other akin to the creative rivalry that was The Beatles -vs- The Beach Boys. And while we're all aware The Beatles took the crown in that contest (...ahem) can it be said that Iggy and his ilk bested Lydon's lynch mob -- or was it the other way around? Hm.

So, let the debate begin...this week we'll focus entirely on the bands spawned Stateside and next week the UK's under the microscope. Some of these tracks will seem remedial for certain, but as the days progress, we'll have assembled a pretty nifty playlist that's truly: never to be bested. (...Now, ...where did I leave that safety pin...?)

Richard Hell & The Voidoids - Blank Generation (Mp3)
Ramones - Blitzkrieg Bop (Mp3)
Pere Ubu - Final Solution (Mp3)
Television - Little Johnny Jewel (Mp3)
The Modern Lovers - Roadrunner (Mp3)

Friday, September 19, 2008

TVD's Parting Shots

The theme is: what I've been listening to all week while TVD writers Aya and Kris schooled y'all. (How about it for those two, huh?) Some of these tunes are so new they're still wet.

Tubeway Army - Are 'Friends' Electric (Mp3)
L.E.O. - Distracted (Mp3)
The CocknBullKid - On My Own (Mp3)
Paul Nicholas - Heaven On The 7th Floor (Mp3)
Skipping Girl Vinegar - One Chance (Mp3)
David Vandervelde - Someone Like You (Mp3)
Pride Tiger - The Lucky Ones (Mp3)
The Blow Monkeys - The Bullet Train (Mp3)
Bluejuice - Vitriol (Pious Edit) (Mp3)
L.E.O. - Ya Had Me Goin' (Mp3)

Friday @ Random

In my hungry fatigue, and shopping for images, I went
into the neon fruit supermarket, dreaming of your enumerations!
What peaches and what penumbras! Whole families
shopping at night! Aisles full of husbands! Wives in the
avocados, babies in the tomatoes!
(Allen Ginsberg, “A Supermarket In California”)

With the unfortunate invention of piped-in Muzak, background music has become a fixture of our daily lives in rather incongruous places. Getting our teeth cleaned in the dentist’s chair and waiting on hold on the telephone are examples that spring to mind. But surely the most annoying use for Muzak is in the supermarket. At all hours of day and night, shoppers gather under harsh fluorescent lights to scrutinize the potential contents of each other’s refrigerators. This dismal chore must be accomplished with the accompaniment of moldy oldies or bubblegum pop music so heinous that it makes the lettuce wilt in shame. There’s something about the supermarket’s neon artificiality and seductive consumerism that makes anyone on the periphery of society feel ill at ease. I was surprised and delighted to discover a mini-genre of what I call “supermarket ballads.” Imagine a hopped-up Iggy Pop or bleary Joe Strummer wandering around the local Save-A-Lot late at night, dazzled by the mirage of affluence and plenitude, lusting after suburban soccer moms and composing anguished yet hilarious masterpieces of alienation and commodification. It’s a safe bet you’ll never hear these songs over the loudspeakers while doing your grocery shopping, so download them now and remember to bring them along on your ipod.

The Clash - Lost in the Supermarket (Mp3)
Screeching Weasels - Supermarket Fantasy (Mp3)
Eugene McDaniels - Supermarket Blues (Mp3)
Lemonade Market - Supermarket Woman (Mp3)
Iggy Pop - Supermarket (Mp3)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

TVD Ticket AND Vinyl Giveaway | Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the True Loves | Friday (9/19) at the The Rock & Roll Hotel

You get a little jaded doing alla' this blogging. Well wait, let me clarify--one's email inbox tends to fill up quite nicely with solicitations from bands, invites to gigs, and all sorts of announcements. It's dizzying. But ya' know what...I welcome it when it delivers something that makes me finally sit up and take notice:

Eli "Paperboy" Reed and the seven piece True Loves are bringing their brand of old school soul (think Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding...) to the Rock and Roll Hotel on September 19th. Featured recently on NPR's morning edition alongside Sharon Jones and the DapKings, as MOJO magazine put it: There are singers who sing, then there are singers whose sheer power of expression can knock you off your feet. Eli 'Paperboy' Reed falls firmly into the latter category ... [he] threatens to be one of the defining voices of the year."

Eli's given TVD two pairs of tickets (2 winners!) for this Friday's show at the Hotel, along with DC's The Ambitions and The Jones. (And you'd be wise to catch Eli and the True Loves in this more intimate setting before they hit the road with Duffy this October.) But if THAT wasn't sweet enough, he's tossing in a copy of his new "Roll With You" on vinyl for both winners.

So--get to typing! Leave us an old school comment why you should be one of the chosen two winners for the pair of tickets and a copy of the LP shipped right to your door. We'll take solicitations for the show until noon on Friday and please remember to leave some contact info!

Eli 'Paperboy' Reed - Am I Wasting My Time (Mp3)

Official Website | Official MySpace

TVD's Daily Wax

I had to laugh when Madonna introduced Gogol Bordello at last year’s Live Earth concert as her “Romani gypsy friends.” None of the band members are actually Roma gypsies; the whole point of the “gypsy punk” genre is a self-conscious symbolic identification with those consummate outsiders. “Gypsy punk” reflects an ongoing effort to blend together every kind of rebel music and distill it into the auditory equivalent of a twenty-four hour vodka party. Authentic gypsy music is as variable as Romani culture itself, assimilating a multitude of influences from all over the world. Modern “gypsy punk” upholds this multicultural aesthetic by layering punk, hip hop, reggae, klezmer, and rock over traditional gypsy melodies. The live performance aspect is one of the best features of the genre; the spectacular concerts often include stylistic aspects of dark cabaret and street busking. There is a powerful immigrant sensibility in the bands’ identity and music. The artists typically have roots in Eastern Europe, South America, the Mediterranean, or the Middle East, and their lyrics are a polyglot potpourri reflecting their origins and audiences. This is aggressively enjoyable music, uproarious and eminently danceable. It’s like the set list from the hottest party happening on the wrong side of town, the one you’d love to go to, if only you had someone who spoke the language to take you. Oh yeah, and this is my supreme favorite hybrid genre ever. Round of applause for anyone who can guess why and posts it in the comments!

Gogol Bordello - Ultimate (Mp3)
Kultur Shock - God Is Busy May I Help You (Mp3)
Man Man - Banana Ghost (Mp3)
Rotfront - Remmidemmi (Mp3)
Zydepunks - Satan (Mp3)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

TVD First Date | ...with The Piano Creeps

Those readers with a keen eye on all things DC will recognize that we've been highlighting bands over the past few weeks from the roster of local label The Kora Records (upon whom BYT had a rather excellent feature this week.) A big thanks goes out to Mike Fink for putting the entire Kora/TVD mashup together--which actually continues today as we chat with Mary Lorson from The Piano Creeps:

"The Piano Creeps is a collaboration between Billy Coté, Kathy Ziegler, and myself. We started informally, just talking about it, a few years ago, but it was Billy and Kathy who really made the record happen. I was just beginning a new teaching job, in addition to dealing with some health problems, so I didn't have much free time, but Billy and Kathy would meet every Tuesday. They would construct tracks and play them for me and we'd confer and eventually the project became an album. They really did the spadework--I was just the lucky stiff who got to step in, bring a couple songs, and sing. But somehow this patchwork collection does represent all three of our rather divergent and personal zeitgeists, and I'm happy we made it."

"In our old band Madder Rose, Billy was the boss and main songwriter; after that, I put together Saint Low and was the one who made the big choices. Kathy makes her living as a session and road player, but has been in charge on all of her solo records. So I guess the interesting thing about this collaboration is that we're three opinionated people with our own styles who are rather used to creating situations where we get to be control freaks. But with this project we all really did a good job of letting go and being curious. I've made a bunch of records now, and this one developed the most organically, process-wise. It came together more the way Billy and I work on the film music, where we explore every valid idea until the piece shows itself as either work-able or not. The gigs have been a really fun extension of this ease and trust we have, so we're looking forward to getting together this month to play gigs around the Kora release of "Future Blues"."

The Piano Creeps - In Somerville (Mp3)
The Piano Creeps - Hey Love (Mp3)

TVD's Daily Wax

My freshman year of college I discovered a genre of music that I immediately took a shining too. Perhaps it was the fast pace. Perhaps it was the retro feeling. Perhaps it was how strong and awesome all of the women involved seemed. Something that took my love of early punk music and mashed it up with swinging sensations of rockabilly and giving me that guilty yet oh-so-good pleasure you get from watching B horror films. Psychobilly, the musical hybrid referred to as the "bastard genre of Rock n' Roll and the forgotten offspring of Punk," has a faster tempo and a much heavier sound than rockabilly and an upright base is usually substituted in lieu of a bass guitar.

The genesis of the term "psychobilly" seems to be in dispute as some attribute it to American band the Cramps (who have in the past denied actually being a psychobilly band, just a band that put the word on their flyers to get attention) and the English band the Meteors, though it seems the majority vote is for the Cramps, at least in terms of who coined the phrase first. Psychobilly's international growth occurred in three waves. The first wave started in Britain in the early 1980s and gave rise to the Meteors, whose fans invented slam dancing- what is now a major calling card of the genre- and other influential bands such as the Guana Batz. The second wave spread to Europe and gave rise to such psychobilly greats as Mad Sin and, one of my personal favorites, the Nekromantix. The third psychobilly wave reached the United States in the 1990s and really took off, especially popular amongst Southern California's Latin community.

Modern psychobilly is known for its experimental sounds, often expanding or moving away from the traditional sounds of its predecessors. At any psychobilly show one is likely to see circle pits filled with men with their hair shaved into quiffs or pompadours, wearing creepers. Women will often have big hair and wear hot rod influenced styles in bright neon patterns like leopard or tiger prints- picture a hipper, more colorful Elvira. If you go to a show expecting a low key rockabilly time, you're in for quite the surprise. As Tiger Army frontman Nick 13 would tell you, rockabilly and psychobilly are in the same family with rockabilly being the grandfather whose portrait you occasionally see hanging in the hallway of your parent's house.

The Meteors - Wreckin' Crew (Mp3)
The Cramps - Rock on the Moon (Mp3)
Nekromantix - Nekronauts (Mp3)
Tiger Army - Temptation (Mp3)
Horror Pops - Where They Wander (Mp3)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

TVD's Daily Wax

Hasidic hip hop is a fascinating musical oddity, deriving from a peculiar conflation of location and circumstances. Several of these musicians have roots in Crown Heights, a crowded Brooklyn neighborhood which is a pressure-cooker of racial tension. Rebelling against the strict musical conventions of the Orthodox Jewish lifestyle, these musicians began creating music which borrowed heavily from the predominately African-American population around them. They incorporated elements of hip hop, rap, reggae, electronica, and jam band rock into their religious liturgy. Thus was born the amusingly incongruous image of bearded Hasidic Jews in traditional garb, beatboxing and busting out mesmerizing rhymes in English, Yiddish, Hebrew, and Aramaic. These artists have completely subverted the prevailing mentality of hip hop culture. Instead of singing about babes and bling, their lyrics are all about mysticism and spirituality. If there’s any allusion to romance, it’s only in the context of a love song addressed to God. Matisyahu, the principal avatar of the genre, started out as a curiosity on college radio. Since then he has achieved considerable mainstream success, including airtime on MTV and a modeling contract with Kenneth Cole. Now there's a new generation of singers hot on the heels of his success, the best of which is freestyling phenomenon Y-Love. While their brazen disregard for convention may outrage musical purists, Hasidic hip hop artists deserve praise for finding an utterly original source of inspiration in the antiquated melodies of Hasidic tradition and making them relevant to a wider audience.

Matisyahu - Chop ‘Em Down (Mp3)
Y-Love - Check The Technique (Mp3)
JewDa Maccabi - Iron Like A Lion (Mp3)
Nosson Zand - Fresh (My People Stay) (Mp3)
Ta-Shma - Shine (Mp3)