Tuesday, December 30, 2008

TVD's Top Track of 2008!

I've seen any number of 'Best Of 2008' lists over the past week or so and all have left me scratching my eyes in disbelief. If you're like me and you're worried sick about the state of things--and indie rock in particular--give it some vitriol!

Bluejuice - Vitriol (Pious Edit) (Mp3)
Bluejuice - Vitriol (E.L.F. Remix) (Mp3)

A TVD EXPERIMENT: The Subconscious Shuffle

I, you, we spend an inordinate amount of time alone. Think about it. From waking to showering to brushing our teeth, we're alone with our thoughts. From the commute to and from work, or school, or in line at the post office or at the grocery, by and large we're alone with ourselves and the quiet rumblings of our brains ticking along.

I started to take note of something recently in the very first moments of waking up, turning on lights, and brewing the coffee each morning: I had a tune in my head churning over and over. And each morning it was a different one and by the time I actually noticed this was occurring, I ended up whistling and singing whatever song the whole day long.

Then I'd think it was a fluke but like clockwork the next day in the very first moments of waking up, turning on lights, and brewing the coffee, a new tune would make itself known. And it's indiscriminate...the subconscious doesn't stick to an era or a genre and has no taste filter. (For good or bad.) Like, last Friday it was "Carry On My Wayward Son..." and over the weekend it was something else entirely, which to be fair I don't recall, because like a dream, it seems I need to take note of it right away or its gone into the ether.

So, a little experiment while we wind things down here at TVD for the year--I'm going to keep a journal of this phenomena and post the track that makes itself known each morning, from today until January 4, 2009--the day before TVD returns for the year in the hope that we'll end up with a mighty fine 14-track mix my subconscious has DJ'd in a little experiment we're calling: The Subconscious Shuffle.

DECEMBER 22, 2008:
Diana Ross - Love Hangover (Mp3)
"...I got the sweetest hangover/I don't wanna get over..."

DECEMBER 23, 2008:
Thin Lizzy - Don't Believe A Word (Mp3)
"Don't believe me if I tell you/That I wrote this song for you/There might be some other silly pretty girl/I'm singing it to..."

DECEMBER 24, 2008:
Todd Rundgren - Couldn't I Just Tell You? (Mp3)
"Couldn't I just tell you the way I feel/I can't keep it bottled up inside/And could we pretend that it's no big deal/And there's really nothing left to hide..."

DECEMBER 25, 2008:

Gene Kelly - The Daughter Of Rosie O'Grady
"She's the daughter of Rosie O'Grady/A regular old fashioned girl/She isn't crazy for diamond rings/Silkens and satins and fancy things..."

DECEMBER 26, 2008:
Fleetwood Mac - Gypsy (Mp3)
"Lightning strikes, maybe once, maybe twice..."

DECEMBER 27, 2008:
The Replacements - Rock 'N' Roll Ghost (Mp3)
"No one here to raise a toast/Be my guest and I will be a host/To a rock 'n' roll ghost/To a rock 'n' roll ghost..."

DECEMBER 28, 2008:
Laura Nyro - Up on the Roof (Mp3)
"When this old world starts getting me down/And people are just too much for me to face..."

DECEMBER 29, 2008:
What can I say? Today: nuthin.

DECEMBER 30, 2008:
Rainbow - Since You've Been Gone
"I get the same old dreams, same time every night/Fall to the ground and I wake up..."

DECEMBER 31, 2008:
L.E.O. - Ya Had Me Goin' (Mp3)
...and a cracking tune for your evening's revelry indeed. Play as loud as I heard it in my head this morning. Happy New Year!

JANUARY 1, 2009:
Would you believe that I woke this New Year's morning with nothing but the sound of hammering in my head? I bet you would.

JANUARY 2, 2009:
The Members - Working Girl (Mp3)
"Heeey...I'm in love with a working girl..."

JANUARY 3, 2009:
Modern English - Blue Waves (Mp3)
"I've got the power to stop the blue waves/That way I'm winning and it helps me through the night..."

JANUARY 4, 2009:
The Thurl Ravenscroft Singers - If I Didn't Care (Mp3)
This was my Dad's favorite song as done by The Ink Spots:
"If I didn't care more than words can say/If I didn't care would I feel this way?/If this isn't love then why do I thrill?/And what makes my head go 'round and 'round/While my heart stands still?"

Monday, December 29, 2008

TVD Plugs | For the Week of December 29, 2008

What to do with all of those email alerts we get that we simply can't do justice throughout the week? Why, it's condense them right here in our new weekly bulletin board, 'plugs.'

We don't care where you are or what city you're in--if you've got something you wanna promote or think we should be listening to or seeing or reading, this is the place to put it. Got a band? A photo exhibit? DJing some place? A good cause worth promoting? This is the spot for it. (And if you've checked that little widget waaay down there bottom left, this is a global forum, indeed.)

We'll be posting what lands in our in-box right here daily as well as welcoming your tips, and we'll be refreshing it once a week to stay on top of what we're both up to.

So, clue us in right here in the comments section to these posts. Weekly.

Monday, December 22, 2008

TVD Presents | YOUR Top Ten of the Year

Not only is it the Holiday Season, but it's List Season. Everyone's compiling and posting 'em--the Ten Best This, the Ten Best That. But here at TVD we're thinking that you guys, the folks who stop by each day, are far better judges of what went down this year and what was truly memorable in 2008 rather than the folks whose business it is to sell you on how hip their respective lists are.

So, in the comments, let us have 'em. Give us one or ten or any number of things you thought made '08 special--new releases, reissues, live shows, DVDs, movies...whatever it is that 2008 just might be remembered for.

We're keeping this post perched on top of TVD til '09, so there's plenty of time to chime in--AND we've got some cool vinyl from the TVD archives for the most clever commenter along the way as a way of saying thanks for a more than memorable 2008 from our side of the screen. (And stay tuned, there's already amazing stuff in the works for 2009...)

Record Store Day 2009 Newswire: Matador Wants You to Redesign Belle and Sebastian's 'BBC Sessions' Cover

Even though Record Store Day 2009 is close to four months away, we're more than pleased to take note of some of the early attendees to the dance. And last night came word of a pretty cool spin on what we here call the 12" x 12" canvas: Matador thinks that one savvy graphic designer has what it takes to redesign the cover to Belle and Sebastian's new 'BBC Sessions'--and they're sponsoring the contest to make that happen in celebration of Record Store Day, 2009.

From the Matador Matablog: " You’ve worked hard at it… Aping that monochromatic vibe for mixtapes…. Copped the twee girl clutching some Kafka on flyers for your weekly DJ night…. you work hard. You’re never lazy about it.

And now is not the time to let the laziness set in.

We are giving you the once in a lifetime chance to design the front cover image for a limited edition of The BBC Sessions that will be sold in stores nationwide. That’s right, an actual commercial edition of a Belle album (in nostalgic compact disc format) will feature your creative work if the band so deems it worthy."

Full details on the contest can be found right here. And already there are oh, ten that are just perfect. The band chooses the winner too...

TVD wonders - is there a Photoshop twee filter?

TVD Plugs | For the Week of December 22, 2008

What to do with all of those email alerts we get that we simply can't do justice throughout the week? Why, it's condense them right here in our new weekly bulletin board, 'plugs.'

We don't care where you are or what city you're in--if you've got something you wanna promote or think we should be listening to or seeing or reading, this is the place to put it. Got a band? A photo exhibit? DJing some place? A good cause worth promoting? This is the spot for it. (And if you've checked that little widget waaay down there bottom left, this is a global forum, indeed.)

We'll be posting what lands in our in-box right here daily as well as welcoming your tips, and we'll be refreshing it once a week to stay on top of what we're both up to.

So, clue us in right here in the comments section to these posts. Weekly.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

TVD First Date With... | Juliette Commagere

Many years ago as a young kid I was prone to fevers. I guess we all were but I seemed to get them more often than not. I recall after one particular episode lying in bed just sweltering while the (black and white!) TV thumped away. Too weak to get up to change the channel (because you had to then, right?) I let 'Hee Haw' and its southern sass rattle my fevered brain.

But something happened...as I was lying there in bed watching Charley Pride croon his way into the Opry...the fever broke! It was like light on/light off. There was a palpable sense of a lifting or cooling of the fever and in one tangible millisecond, I felt a million times better! And as the years went on, every time I'd see Charley Pride, I silently recall his countrified bedside manner that placed a metaphoric cool rag on my blazing brow. (And I'm not making this up - totally true. I felt like I've owed him one for years.)

So yea, I've been feeling kind of crappy this week and the lackluster posts probably give that away. Juuust not feeling Christmassy. And not that she intended it, I'm sure, ...but Juliette just pulled a Charley Pride on me.

Don't believe me? Play 'Overcome' real loud like I just did and try to tell me it's not like someone just opened up the widow real wide and set something free.

And we got her on the record(s) too:

"I heard recently that vinyl is “making a comeback”. I don’t really know what this means but nonetheless it’s reassuring to know that in our digital age, where people’s attention spans are now proven to be getting shorter from so much high paced internet stimulation, that people are trying hold onto a medium from a time when listening to a record was kind of like reading a book. People actually listened to an album from start to finish and contemplated its entirety as opposed to shuffling a mix of songs individually bought on itunes on their ipods. That’s not to say I don’t love technology (the freedom and independence my laptop has given me to create music has changed my life), but I think human beings will always have a need to hold onto beauty. I’ve seen bands now selling their records on vinyl which includes a digital download thingy, and this makes a lot of sense—jewel cases are not beautiful, but records are. Also, the mere fact that they’re so much larger than cds makes them that much more of an experience—that much more of a world you can create as an artist and that much more of a world to get lost in as a consumer. And of course everyone knows they sound better too. I would love to release my records on vinyl and fantasize about it all the time. For now cds are more practical for indie labels, but really all it takes is money--which I’m hoping to have inordinate amounts of someday!"

Juliette Commagere - Overcome (Mp3)
Juliette Commagere - Queens Die Proudly (Mp3)

TVD's Beatles Fanclub Records | '67 & '68

Y'know, this could be the best time you'll ever have in your life. Would you be able to recognize it as such?

"Christmastime is here again, Christmastime is here again..."

The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1967 (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1967, Alternate (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1968 (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1968, Outtake One (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1968, Outtake Two (Mp3)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

TVD's Beatles Fanclub Records | '65 & '66

Police Investigate Shooting in Northwest D.C.
Pregnant Woman Is Stabbed

I was going to get on here this morning and bemoan my lack of Christmas spirit to date. Not sure just what it is, really...I'm jittery. Unsettled. It's just not coming despite the big ol' tree in the living room and the cats having a blast batting the ornaments around just like every year.

Pr. George's Man Charged in NW Shooting Death
Attack at Metro Linked to Area Violence

...Can you blame me if I hark back to a 'sweeter time'?

The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1965 (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1965, Outtake One (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1965, Outtake Two (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1966 (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1966, Excerpts (Mp3)

(...600th post. Man, am I tired.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

TVD's Beatles Fanclub Records | '63 & '64

These files have been sitting on my computer for over a year now. Around the Fourth of July this past year I gave a listen to the lads funning it up for the holiday to come--and talk about out of sync. I was sweltering in shorts and the boys were conjuring all the Mersey Merriment that is/was Christmas. So, it's a delight to hear 'em in context which we will all this week (along with some miscellaneous outtakes...) to kick your holiday fully into gear.

Merry Crimble, indeed!

The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1963 (Mp3)
The Beatles at The Playhouse Theatre, London, 12/1963 (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1964 (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1964, Outtake One (Mp3)
The Beatles Christmas Fanclub Record, 1964, Outtake Two (Mp3)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

TVD's 70's | 1970

Mick and I were having a bit of a back and forth in the comments a little while ago in reference to Phil Spector's production work on The Beatles' 'Let It Be'. Mick's of the opinion that Spector schmalted up the recording and he's hardly alone. McCartney's been unequivocal in his dismay regarding Phil's 'contributions' to the LP and the 'Let It Be - Naked' collection, stripped of Spector's flourishes, was released to set the record straight as it were.

At the time I reluctantly agreed with Mick's opinion. . .but now I might be reconsidering. Just TRY singing 'The Long And Winding Road without the "...dum dum..." right before "...thaaat's leads/to your dooor..." cuz you can't. When I put on the 'Naked' LP I actually miss that bit right there. Phil was onto something. Dare I go out on a limb and suggest that the initial release is truly the definitive release--regardless of Paul's misgivings? I just may...

A note about the updated hand-colored cover to the rerelease of George's 'All Things Must Pass'...normally I'm averse to such retooling. The criteria here at TVD tends to favor the original releases...but this charms me for some reason. Maybe it's because George himself was behind the reimagining of the cover. Maybe because George was AROUND when this came out.

...All things must pass indeed.

The Beatles - The Long And Winding Road (Mp3)
George Harrison - My Sweet Lord (Mp3)
Carpenters - Close To You (Mp3)
BJ Thomas - Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head (Mp3)
Partridge Family - Think I Love You 70's (Mp3)

Mix Magazine Talks With Bob Ludwig, Longtime Mastering Engineer

In the December issue of Mix, mastering engineer Bob Ludwig chats with editor Sarah Jones about changing technologies, the loudness wars, and more than four decades of musical inspiration.

One focus of our December mastering issue is preparing for a variety of release formats. Are you seeing an increase in particular formats, such as vinyl?
I did vinyl mastering my whole career. Several years ago I sold my lathe; I sold it to Sony, and now I’ve heard they’ve just sold it to Sterling.

Gateway was the first independent mastering studio to be open without a working lathe, because we didn’t need it. In ’93, when we opened up, it really looked like LPs were just going to die completely. And then it was kind of hanging in there, so at some point we assembled the lathe that we had bought, and we cut a bunch of records. But back then, the record companies weren’t quality-controlling it. We did this one record, and I never got a test pressing or anything like that, and Michael Fremmer, who’s an analog vinyl guy, called me up and said, “Gee, Bob, I’ve got this pressing that says you did it, and it doesn’t sound like you did it; it’s kind of dull sounding.” I said, “Wow, well, I never heard what happened,” and I got a copy of the pressing, and sure enough the thing did come out dull. That’s the problem with vinyl; lots can go wrong with it. So I called the record company and said, “Who approved this?” and she said, “We don’t even have a turntable in our A&R department.” I said, “So nobody listened to it before it was pressed?” And she said, “No, the UK department listened to it,” and I said, “Well, what were they comparing it to?” And she said, nothing, it “just sounded good” to her. Literally, at that moment, I decided to sell the lathe. Because vinyl’s so difficult, as far as quality control goes, that I didn’t want something with my name on it out there that wasn’t quality controlled. Now that there’s been this kind of funny resurgence in vinyl, the record companies are paying more attention to it.

When we do vinyl projects, we just send equalized masters to whomever the record company is using or to certain disk cutters that we like—with the approval of the record company—so they cut from high-resolution files. So, theoretically, the vinyl releases of most of our stuff should have another octave of top end on them that the CD doesn’t have, even though it’s in a supersonic area. [Laughs]

What do you think is driving the resurgence in vinyl? I’d like to think it’s a backlash against…
Supercompressed MP3s?

I’d like to think it is.
Well, I think part of it is. The kids who have grown up in this generation have never experienced having a vinyl record in their hands, with that big artwork; it’s so tactile, so physical. It’s really such a different kind of a creature than a cold MP3 file. You know, if it’s coming over an Internet connection and it goes in your ears; there’s nothing to feel with your hands. A lot of it might be that.

(Read the rest with the Mastering Master right here.)

TVD First Date With... | Carrigan

This week TVD sits down with Brooklyn-based experimental noise rocker Carrigan (aka Zack Martin) to get the story behind the tracks he's selected for his turn here at TVD. And wouldn't you know, he's got vinyl on his mind as well.

"'Valladolid' was a staple of the ever growing two-piece live set. I had many lyrical changes until I settled on those that were inspired by a trip through Mexico. Valladolid is a quaint little town in the Yucatan, just outside a group of impressive Mayan ruins, The lyrics were inspired by the drive through the sierra mtns, on route to the Yucatan, sipping on cheap Mexican beer in the back seat with my head out the window which eventually led to a stay in Valladolid literally cut out of the jungle.

'Sunshine Through the Waves' was written long after most of the songs from 'Young Men'. As a predominately acoustic song we decided to use it to give some dynamics to the record.

Since, roughly, grade school I have had a love for vinyl. It is the only format that has held it's unique personality through the many changes in music format. Nothing sounds like it and nothing ever will. My first two records were a Pavement album, I had heard on the UVM college radio station, and an old Corrosion Of Conformity album that some grizzled ex punk told me to buy. "It's fukin raunchy man" he said and I was to embarrassed to put it back on the shelf in front of him. So it goes..." - Zack Martin

Carrigan - Valladolid (Mp3)
Carrigan - Sunshine Through The Waves (Mp3)

TVD's 70's | 1976

So, earlier in the week I was bemoaning what really is a very common occurrence, the sheer lack of time--free time, that is--to ...I dunno ...read for pleasure ...organize my records ...watch that DVD that's been on my shelf for ages (a great JAM video compilation, or so I'm told.)

But it seems that it's very possible that I'm alone with that quandary when I read stuff like this:

Japanese DJ software offers perfect excuse for buying a second iPhone
As the club DJ transition from vinyl turntables to CD turntables to dual iPods has progressed audiences have become more accepting of the changing dynamic. But some DJs still long for the old school vinyl aesthetic. Japanese design and software group Delaware has unveiled a solution to remedy such longings called Record001 for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch.

The application allows you to backspin, pause and scratch records as you would with a tradition record player and even allows you to pick up and drop the needle anywhere on the record while it's playing with complete accuracy. You can see video of the app in action. . . and pick up your copy of the app on the iTunes store for just $1.99. . .

On your PHONE. Sheez.

So, what's next? "Japanese Software Perfects Masturbatory Techniques" ...because THAT we ALL have time for, riiight?

Now, where was I? Oh, yea--'76:

Peter Frampton - Do You Feel Like We Do (Mp3)

Elvin Bishop - Fooled Around And Fell In Love (Mp3)
Hall & Oates - Sara Smile (Mp3)
Starbuck - Moonlight Feels Right (Mp3)
Al Stewart - Year Of The Cat (Mp3)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

TVD's 70's | 1974

So, what are we bloggers supposed to do each year on this anniversary of Lennon's death? One doesn't want to appear repetitious, but what do you do if you still feel the exact same way as you did last year?

I guess on a week when we're again recalling the 70's, I guess I prefer to recall John in context--vital and on the radio.

John Lennon - Whatever Gets You Through The Night (Mp3)
Elton John - Bennie And The Jets (Mp3)
Paul McCartney & Wings - Jet (Mp3)
Steely Dan - Rikki Don't Lose That Number (Mp3)
Joni Mitchell - Help Me (Mp3)