Thursday, April 30, 2009

TVD Ticket Giveaway! | The Wailers, Saturday (5/2) at The National Harbour

So, when I say 'The Wailers' to you—what comes to mind?

Legends, for one. Positive vibrations. Punky Reggae Party. One love...

The Wailers are heading out for a second round on their sold-out nationwide "Exodus Tour," which brings them to Washington, DC this Saturday night! The dates will feature a full performance of the classic 1977 album of the same name, Exodus, named "Album of the Century" by Time Magazine, and featuring the anthem "One Love," deemed "Song of the Millennium" by the BBC.

The Wailers will be using the tour to bring more attention to their "I Went Hungry," which donates unused funds from the band's hospitality riders directly to the United Nation's World Food Program. To date, the charity has already fed over 120,000 people.

The Wailers will be playing at the National Harbour as part of the Sunset Concerts Festival this Saturday night (5/2) and TVD has TWO sets of tickets to give away.

Sooo—when I say 'The Wailers' to you—what comes to mind?

Let us know in the comments and perhaps you'll be front and center, skanking right next to us here at TVD HQ this Saturday. We'll accept comments (with contact info!) up until noon on Friday, 5/1.

One Love, right?

TVD Pop Overs | Mine For Life

Very often it seems like Mr. Fiftypercent over at Mine For Life and I shared quite similar listening habits throughout the ‘80’s. The only difference is that somehow he was able to hold on to those LPs he shares on his blog, whereas many of mine went missing between various DJ gigs and residences too numerous to mention.

So, it’s always a welcome stop-over to see what he’s pulled from his collection and posted and what foggy memory will crystallize. And as such, we find ourselves over at Fifty’s place this morning:

"When Jon asked me to contribute a brief introduction and some music for a new piece he was putting together, I had two thoughts. I’ve been flattered when mentioned by other blogs in the past, but I’ve never had to blow my own trumpet, so to speak. So my first thought was that I have no idea why anyone would be bothered to visit my little web-hole. But then the other side of me kicked in and I began thinking that this was a great idea: prepare to be amazed, people.

And that, I suppose, is the gist of what I try to offer with my blog – where the assiduous, contemplative geek battles with the autocratic poseur. As a Brit transplanted to the American South, I am constantly marching with bewilderment on one arm and assurance on the other. Kind of like Alan Rickman pitching a baseball.

So, what of the music? As if my own erudite ramblings were not enough, my musical leanings tend to languish rather firmly in that period between 1984 and 1987 when new wave was becoming old and technological advances meant that every new chart hit had to sound like Johnny Hates Jazz. I am drawn to hidden gems, also-rans, major label footnotes, and above all, the sound. A synthesizer hook here, a power chord there, dramatic vocals about the mundane and drums that reverb like Shakin’ Stevens performing at a Jello factory. At the same time you might also find the odd forgotten gem from the ‘90’s, or a low budget bargain bin refugee from recent times. What you won’t find is horn-drenched R&B, relentless metal riffing, or harlequins. I hate harlequins.

So, gasp in admiration as I select five nuggets for your exhumation. And, if vinyl is your thing, then you are in good company. For the past few months, I have talked about almost nothing else as I have slowly succumbed to the lure of music in its definitive black cardboard shrouded majesty."

Chumbawamba - Mannequin (Mp3)
The Raw Herbs - Don't Bury Me Yet (Mp3)
Paul Hyde - What Am I Supposed To Do (Mp3)
Swim - I Believe (Mp3)
Upper Room - Never Come Back (Mp3)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TVD First Date with | Sarah Borges

Sarah Borges (...of Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles) returns to TVD for what is technically a ‘Second’ Date after contributing to Week #10 in our Record Store Day 11 Weeks of Vinyl Giveaways.

Sarah’s currently on the road to promote the band’s new release ‘The Stars Are Out' which is actually available on orange vinyl, no less. It’s a pleasure to have her back this week because we cannot get “Stop and Think It Over” from an earlier release out of our collective heads. (It’s the first vid down there—you’ve been warned...)

Between the road and the gigs, Sarah’s got to waxing nostalgic. (About wax.)

"One of my happiest childhood memories was picking out the record for naptime, going-to-bedtime, whatever time. I wasn’t old enough to read, but I knew I liked all the records that had the apple on the sticker, and that were colored blue and red. Hello Beatles. Part of the reason my band’s new album is on orange vinyl is because I love so well that recognition without reading effect. Like seeing an old friend without trying to remember their name.

When I got older, and I had my own money from working at Henry’s A&W Root Beer Stand in Taunton, MA, I frequented an independent record store downtown called Oasis Records. I didn’t really know what I liked in terms of new music because I had spent so much time listening to parents’ record collection, but this place was so cool I figured anything in there had to be alright.

A guy named Jim was the proprietor, and he often recommended other stuff (by this time we were on to cds) based on my novice choices. He also served as ombudsman for all local band information. There was a band in town, Blair’s Carriage, that everyone thought was the coolest, and on the bottom of their hand-addressed, sent-through-the-U.S. Post fliers (weren’t those great?), it said for more info, contact Jim at Oasis. He was the validating element.

I hosted a battle of the bands my senior year of high school and asked Jim to be the judge. What a coup for me. And some of the bands who participated had 7”s (see the full circle effect?). It was then that my thrift store wearing self realized that older is better not just in regards to clothes, and boys, but also with regards to music mediums.

To finally be able to say that my band has a full-length LP on orange vinyl in stores now makes me proud. It is something akin to being back in my hometown, and winning the battle of the bands (I was too young and bad at guitar to participate the first time). I don’t know if Jim would even remember me, or if he’s gone to the record store in the sky, but hopefully he would be proud too."

Sarah Borges - Better At The End Of The Day (Mp3)

TVD Pop Overs | Any Major Dude

I was a little surprised to note last week that on average, visitors to TVD spend a whopping 1:20 here each day. That’s it—80 seconds.

I’m OK with that however as I’m no different. I’ve got bookmarks galore and I visit the family of bloggers on the regular. I’m in London one moment, New York another, down to Australia, then up to Canada in a flash—perhaps in all of 80 seconds. A pop over, if you will.

And many of the Mp3’s offered by my blogging kin have made it onto my ipod. That scratchy 7” ripped in Botswana is getting a fresh listen on my walk to work in the morning in Washington, DC. How remarkable is that? How cool that we’re able to embed ourselves into each other’s psyches in this way and often at such distances.

All of this to usher in a new feature here on the blog: TVD Pop Overs. With these we’ll head to all points on the globe to check in with the family of bloggers who are doing their best to see that your 80 seconds are the sweetest possible. We’ll get a take on their perspectives, what to anticipate upon your visit, and a handful of tracks that best exemplify their tastes and offerings. It’ll be tea and crumpets or beer and cigs depending upon where we land.

To kick the feature off, we head down to Cape Town, South Africa to check in with Any Major Dude who in his own right has done a fine job of spotlighting the blogs he thinks we should be checking into with frequency. So, with his blessing – we’re off...

"Any Major Dude With Half A Heart is a nostalgist who still has faith in new music (and, apparently writes in the third person). So the old and the new music tend to mingle merrily. Any Major Dude With Half A Heart is mostly a series-based blog. Some run intermittently (such as ‘Great Moustaches in Rock’ or ‘Pissing off the Taste Police with…’), others on a more or less regular basis, such as the series of lesser-known originals of famous songs. And some run their course and are laid to rest (such as ‘Perfect Pop’, or the current series of love songs for all emotions). And there are regular mix-CDRs (currently a four-volume series on the flute in rock/pop/soul). A day in this blogger’s life consists mainly of checking ever 15 minutes if anyone has commented on a post. At that obsessive rate, Any Major Dude is usually disappointed, but elated and grateful when somebody does comment. Just your average blogger then. In-between, MP3tags must be conscientiously updated, with artwork and correctly annotated year and genre fields."
Wilco - Any Major Dude (Mp3)
(combines the blog’s name and my love for
Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg - Je t'aime moi non plus (crackly vinyl rip) (Mp3)
(for the childhood nostalgia on which I thrive)
Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr - You Don’t Have To Be A Star (Mp3)
(for my love of ’70s soul and the flute)
Hello Saferide - San Francisco (Mp3)
(for my new series of US cities and love for Swedish Indie-pop)
Dolly Parton - I Will Always Love You (Mp3)
(for my love of pre-’80s country and original songs)

TVD Ticket Giveaway! | Cut Off Your Hands, Friday (5/1) at The Black Cat

New Zealanders, Cut Off Your Hands invade DC this Friday night as openers for US Royalty at The Black Cat, and TVD’s got a pair of tickets to put in your severed mitts.

We here in TVD HQ are rather high on their hook-laden, Bernard Butler-produced debut to the point where we’re thinking, as openers, they just may give USR a run for their money. But it won’t be YOUR money if you’re the lucky one to cause enough racket in the comments to win the tickets to Friday’s show.

We’ll accept comments and entries until noon on Thursday 4/30, so get to it. (Remember to leave us a contact address or you can email us directly...!)

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

TVD Recommends | Panda Head Magazine Issue #4 Preview Party

We’ve long been fans of Panda Head’s rock and roll inspired online magazine (and blog!) and this Friday (5/1) Comet Ping Pong hosts a Preview Party for issue Number 4.

Specifics for your sweet sartorial selves:
Friday, May 1 at Comet Ping Pong
5037 Connecticut Ave., NW, WDC
10PM - 2 AM

Preview a short film and video from the upcoming issue of the magazine!

HOT LIVE ACTION performance from New Rock Church Of Fire and the premiere of NRCOF's new music video for their song The Sword!

TVD's Alternative Ulcer

It's been a long time since I've heard music that really made me f-ing excited. I mean, I hear a ton of music that I dig. That I'll play again and again. But nothing that's made me really want to jump on my bed and run in place for 5 minutes straight like I'm in some horrible 80s workout montage.

Then I started reading about Death. A group comprised of the Hackney brothers-three black teenagers from Detroit who put out an album in 1975 that I had never heard before, nor could I get my hands on. That is, until February. The Hackney boys, you see, now live in Vermont where they moved away from Detroit and towards a new sound-gospel rock and eventually to reggae. So other than really really rare copies of the record and recordings, the album has pretty much been nowhere to be found.

The story goes something like this: a son of one of the Hackney boys was out in San Francisco at some party and hears "Tryangle" playing and thinks basically "holy shit that's my dad!" Eventually one of the Hackney's dug the original recordings out of a box in his attic and in February 2009 Drag City reissued seven songs of what was originally a 12-song album, 'For the Whole World to See' for the whole world to enjoy. Fortunately on Record Store Day I happened across a copy over at Red Onion Records and Books.

Death has been called a "power-trio" whose sound is "proto-punk" but I don't think it's that simple to classify them as such. And then there's people like Adam Moerder who, I think, downplays how great the album is when he writes that "[t]he album falls short of a diamond-in-the-rough-caliber discovery, but considering these seven songs are the remains of an aborted 12-song full-length-from a band that reinvented itself every three or four years, 'For the Whole World' holds up well alongside, say, concurrent Blue Oyster Cult or New York Dolls albums."

I think he's wrong. But that's just my opinion. You kids have yourselves a listen and let me know what you think. To me Death never sounded so sweet.

Death - Keep On Knocking (Mp3)
Death - Let The World Turn (Mp3)
Death - Where Do We Go From Here (Mp3)
Death - Politicians In My Eyes (Mp3)

Monday, April 27, 2009

So, yeaa. This show? BACK ON.

Oh, the crazy world that is music making. Tonight’s Into The Presence show at Velvet Lounge is BACK ON and the first 20 people who show up to the door and mention The Vinyl District get in FREE. No questions asked. Don’t even reach for that wallet.


Best Buy turning the tables with vinyl

Best Buy is giving vinyl a spin.

The consumer-electronics giant, the nation's third-largest music seller behind Apple's iTunes and Wal-Mart, is considering devoting eight square feet of merchandising space, to vinyl, or enough for just under 200 albums, after testing the idea in 100 of its stores around the country.

Vinyl is less than 5 percent of Best Buy's music sales, but the format is growing as CD sales shrink.

Vinyl sales grew 15 percent in 2007 and 89 percent in '08, making the 1.9 million albums purchased last year the most since Nielsen SoundScan began tracking sales in 1991.

And this year is shaping up even better, with 670,000 albums sold by mid-April. By contrast, CD sales have fallen at a roughly 20 percent clip the last few years.

To be sure, vinyl's growth, even combined with digital sales, can't make up for CDs' decline. But it shows consumers haven't abandoned the physical format.

And the fact that a retailer of Best Buy's size is willing to expand vinyl offerings is an incremental positive for a beleaguered industry. A typical Best Buy store features about 16 to 20 square feet of music merchandise and displays 8,000 CDs.

(Via the New York Post)

Friday, April 24, 2009

TVD's Parting Shots

“... temperatures will rebound in a major way through the day, topping out into the mid 70s under mostly sunny skies. The warming trend will continue through the weekend as highs reach the mid to upper 80s both Saturday and Sunday. Along with the warmer temperatures comes a bit of humidity and the chance for a few afternoon thunderstorms, particularly out to the west toward the mountains. For the beginning of next week, highs will continue in the 80s both Monday and’re listening to TVD on the Radio. TVD time is 3:37 and THIS is DC’s Shudder To Think...”

Shudder To Think - Hot One (Mp3)
Led Zeppelin - Hot Dog (Mp3)
Peter Tosh - Coming In Hot (Mp3)
Nick Gilder - Hot Child In The City (Mp3)
Loverboy - The Kid Is Hot Tonight (Mp3)
King - I Cringed, I Died, I Felt Hot (Mp3)
Style Council - Long Hot Summer (Club Mix) (Mp3)
Simple Minds - White Hot Day (Mp3)
The Specials - Too Hot (Mp3)
The Sound - New Dark Age/Hothouse (Mp3)

It's a TVD/Yellow Bird Project Tee Shirt Giveaway!

Don’t think for a moment that because Record Store Day has come and gone for one year, that we here at TVD are done giving away cool stuff to those of you who spend a whopping 1:20 on average with us a day.

In fact, nothing can be further from the truth.

TVD is proud to have teamed up with The Yellow Bird Project, the charity tee shirt line whose designers include such names as Elvis Perkins, Laura Veirs, Bon Iver, Broken Social Scene, The National, Rilo Kiley, New Pornographers, Devendra Banhart, Wolf Parade, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Au Revoir Simone, Stars, The Shins, My Brightest Diamond, and Wolfmother to name JUST a few.

The Yellow Bird Project solicits tee shirt designs from the aforementioned artists and the proceeds all go to the musician’s charity of choice. Here’s how Yellow Bird puts it on their site:

“Yellow Bird Project is a Montreal-based, non-profit initiative. We collaborate with musicians in designing a T-shirt, we print and sell them on our website, and all of the money we make goes to charity. Which charity? Each of the artists gets to choose their own. We have three fundamental aims:
1) To make money for charities directly through T-shirt sales.

2) To raise awareness for charity organizations through artists’ endorsement.

3) To raise the profile of the artists we like.

We have specifically approached individuals that we think are creative and conscientious enough to make a difference.”

...and wouldn’t you know they came to TVD.

Two lucky winners will each receive the tee shirt of their choice from The Yellow Bird Project. Click here to visit The Yellow Bird Project’s site and check out the shirts — then CLICK HERE to enter your email address to be included in the random drawing. We'll accept your entries until 4/29 at noon and the winners will be notified directly by Yellow Bird.

...and they even have a theme song!
The Tallest Man On Earth - A Field of Birds (Mp3)

...and these gifts for TVD!
The National featuring St. Vincent - Sleep All Summer (Mp3)
Feist and The Constantines - Islands In The Stream (Dolly Parton cover) (Mp3)

Thursday, April 23, 2009

TVD (Second) Date with | Into The Presence

Know those first dates when immediately after you just want another? Well, today we pick up Part 2 of our sit-down with Luis Moldonado of Into The Presence. Catch the first part right here.

"With (yesterday's) frame of mind we created the INTO THE PRESENCE album. We recorded on two in inch tape, mixed it to half inch tape and from the actual tapes cut it straight to an acetate for vinyl production.

There was not one piece of digital equipment involved in this recording except for a guitar tuner and a digital watch hanging on the wall. All reverbs, delays, phasers, and so forth were real halls, spring reverbs, tape, and analog circuitry.

We used an MCI mixing board with no automation. The mic pre-amps on the board actually sounded miles ahead of most rackmount pre-amps that people use to warm up their Protools system. The tape itself had an amazing tone. The tone that everyone I know wants to get on their digital system, we had right there at the touch of the record button. No additional outboard gear or plug-ins to “simulate” that warm analog sound, we had the real thing without hours of effort.

With that, we were able to perform without hard drive backups, digital converters, and endless keyboard tinkering. As we thought, we performed, and tracked exactly what we felt.

We thankfully did not have the options of auto-tuning the vocals, nudging the drum tracks, cutting and pasting parts to create “simulated performances”. There was no “comp-ing” or endless tracks of “just in case” parts.

We committed to some very fundamental philosophies. Each note had to be important, whether it was a hundred notes or one note, it has to make a inspired statement. We wrote the parts before we tracked them. That allowed us to do first takes a majority of the time and move on quickly while staying inspired. Also capturing the essence of the actual tone of each instrument allowed us to capture the purity of the performance. Good sound inspires good things. With those things in mind we were able to write from a creative standpoint using our ears, and it saved of eyes from getting monitor burnout from looking at a screen. When we mixed we had no automation, so Tim and I with both hands were moving faders and compressor knobs as well as tape delay knobs. That alone was another creative process on its own.

If you buy the vinyl, I can assure you what we heard coming back from our monitors during mix down is what you will get on the vinyl. HONESTLY.

The lathe was cut right off the tapes with not one thing in the way. We were listening to the test pressing the other day and we would play other vinyl copies of music that inspired us and feel we accomplished making a true album. No format, no mentality for the “hit”. An honest record inspired as it was recorded.

INTO THE PRESENCE will be available in vinyl format June of 2009. We are also releasing it digitally through iTunes on April 28th from Razor and Tie records. Hopefully everyone will be able to listen to it from an honest, unbiased, and pure mindset as we recorded it.

The INTO THE PRESENCE album was meant to be on vinyl from the beginning. A common thing to do is to record on a digital system, master it digitally and then send a digital master to vinyl. We did no such thing. We kept it real and unprocessed. The difference to record digitally and then transfer to vinyl, from recording it analog and transfer to vinyl is night and day. I can't say working in the analog format is for everybody, but it is what Tim and I found as INTO THE PRESENCE that works best for our creative process. We will continue to do so, until there is a much more refined analog system that surpasses ours.

Digital will always be digital no matter how high the bit rate, so I'm not sure we will venture into that realm, perhaps way later if we start needing new electronic type sounds. However our instruments at the end of the day have nothing to do with the machines that aid us in documenting. Tim’s instrument of expression is not the two inch machine or the microphones, it is his drums, his hands and mind. My instrument of expression is not my tape delays or the huge tubes in the amps, it is my voice, my guitar and my mind as well."

Into The Presence - Lovers (Mp3)

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

TVD First Date with | Into The Presence

C’mere. Let me let you into a little secret.

See, ...sometimes in moments of doubt and introspection I often think, “Look at’s a gorgeous day outside...what are you doing in TVD HQ listening to records and blogging about it all?” Or better yet, “Pull your head outta your ass.”

It’s no wonder Ms. TVD refers to the TVD Office as the ‘Masterbatorium.”

But I am heartened these days by the tiny things that tell me that yes, indeed...all this pining for vinyl, ‘antiquated’ recording processes, and musicianship is not for naught.

Perhaps it was the long line of preteens at Crooked Beat Records on Record Store Day with LPs under their arms. Or the seriously long faces from the same demographic when told over at Som that they were sold out of a special 7” pressed for the day. Makes a geezer proud, it does.

Yet, it might be the musicians like this week’s First Date Into The Presence, who are carving grace notes from ghost notes by—wait for it—recording not digitally but via analog. Real performances. On tape. Who even sweat the mastering.

Into The Presence is the new project from Primus drummer Tim Alexander (also of A Perfect Circle) and Luis Moldonado, one-time child music prodigy who’s worked with Pat Monahan, John Waite, UFO, Glenn Hughes and Michael Schenker.

I could go on and on about how refreshing this is, but Luis’s enthusiasm clearly speaks for itself:

"I am one of those individuals that grew up with Vinyl and 8 track tapes. I listened to everything from Petula Clarke to Uriah Heep. I LOVED records. I loved obsessing on everything from the album cover art, to where and who recorded on these recordings. I use to fantasize about the band or artist playing live, what they would look like. It was very much a religious experience for me. I didn’t like toys, playing with the next door neighbors kids or going to social functions. I would escape with music. I grew up playing music by the age of 7 and was surrounded by classical influences. However, listening to albums like Jeff Beck live, Queen II, the Nazz and other music of that time, I wasn’t so much impacted by the songwriting as much as I was the SOUND. I would feverishly try to figure out HOW Pete Townsend made a certain GROWL on his guitar, or Freddy Mercury was able to sing so delicately over heavy hitting music and make it work. To me, these were all new sounds and new “landscapes” that was breaking rules of formalities and traditions. Especially with my background in the orchestra it was all new and wonderful, at least to me. And it forever impacted me to this day to find the newest and purest expression, within myself and in others.

Today we are expected to have distortion and delay on the guitars, drums, and what ever else to make that “rock, indy, alt” sound.

What I miss today is the purity of songwriting and performing. Really singing, really playing. Its an art that has gotten lost in the vast sea of “snobs” and “anti-snob” snobs within this industry. What I mean is playing a guitar solo at one time was a beautiful statement within the song (and I'm not talking about 80’s metal solos) and to be a great singer that could deliver a melody with authority was and in some cases, still is a true expression of ones abilities to communicate the music language.

I will always play my vinyl for that inspiration. My collection is the center piece of the home that I live in and it is what gets listened too. I don’t have many CDs and the only time I listen to an iPod is when I am on an airplane. Most tours I travel with a portable turntable and a road case of vinyl. What I have learned since the birth of CD’s and the digital age of MP3’s is that those mediums are absolutely MISSING many things within the sound. From the album artwork, watching physically as the music was produced from a black disc spinning on a turntable, to the most missed aspect being the actual 3D dimension effect that only vinyl has been able to produce. I have taken many re-mastered CD’s and A/B’d my basic vinyl copies of lets say, Steely Dan’s Aja, Queen’s Night at the opera, and Neil Young’s After the Goldrush is hands down, and I will always prefer dimension over compression.

I will always prefer the illusion of the band being in the room over playing back round music while I eat dinner.

Vinyl will never die. It's too precious, and there is a reason teens as young as 14 are discovering the qualities of vinyl without the brainwashing from the labels of this industry that claim digital is king.

Urban Outfitters sell record players and NEW artists are ALL putting out vinyl. It's NOT for the nostalgic, its for the music fans of today. Its NOT a fad, but a rediscovery that at one time our music industry did it right.

It's NOT moving backwards by releasing vinyl, its picking up where we left off…"

(Luis returns tomorrow with Part 2 of our First Date...)

Into The Presence - Lovers (Mp3)

TVD's Angry Old Man

Seems Hamell has taken to updating his Live Journal right before I leave for work these days and today’s entry, his (new?) song lyrics, have been churning away.

Some people play the odds, it works out every time
Some people live the life, they drink the finest wine
(Am) (G) (F) (C)
They don’t seem sharp, they don’t seem cool, they don’t seem bright
(Am) (G) (F) (C)
They don’t do good, they don’t try hard, they don’t try right
(D) (G) (D) (G)
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

My kid he likes to ask, he’s got inquiries
He wants to know ‘bout God, he asks bout destinies
He’s only 8, he thinks life’s great, the good guys win
That if you got a dream you end what you begin
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

I had to sit him down, and tell him he was wrong,
We talked ‘bout war and hate and victory of the strong
I told him all the dirty tricks that life could play
That God’s a cosmic joke; you’re dust on dying day.
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

It is a wicked world, compassion far and rare,
There’s sickness all around, and no one seems to care,
You’re born alone and you’ll die the same way too
It’s all a senseless mess the universe plays on you.
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

And do you really think, I looked him in the eye?
And uttered words like these, to watch him break and cry?
I told him God was waiting just to hold his hand,
And lead him right to me in eternity we’d land.
Whether I believe it or not, this is what he got.
Who’s to say what’s fair? Who’s to say what’s fair?

(...And yes, this falls squarely under the Angry Old Man banner.)

The Smiths - Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now (Live) (Mp3)
XTC - Dear God (Mp3)
Fiction Factory - Feels Like Heaven (Mp3)
Heaven 17 - Temptation (Mp3)
The Beach Boys - God Only Knows (Mp3)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

TVD Ticket Giveaway! | Action Painters, Wednesday (4/22) at The Red & The Black

Last week's stellar First Date, Action Painters play DC on Wednesday night and TVD's got a pair of tickets to put in your hot little hands.

No, wait--it's even better than that. Allison, the band's keyboardist, emailed us with bigger ideas:

"The show at The Red & The Black on Wednesday 4/22 is the opening night of Action Painters first major tour and we're super excited to have it be in DC. It's also our first show ever in DC, so we're really looking forward to making it rock. We'll make you dance and forget about having to wake up the next day. Tell all your friends and come hang out.

The ticket giveaway winner will receive this extra hot prize package:
1. 2 tickets to the show
2. A copy of our debut record, Chubby Dancer
3. A limited edition pre-release copy of our new EP, Lay That Cable
4. A limited edition screen print tour poster by our bassist and band artist Ray Heekin
5. The band will personally hug and/or make out with 1 of the 2 ticket holders and talk about any 2 of the following topics: food, politics, the TV show 30 Rock, religion, and/or what room of your house you are letting us crash in tonight."

I suggested soliciting head shots for #5 there, but the band's just gonna wing it.

As always, plead your case in the comments to get your mitts on the tickets--AND the band. We'll choose a winner on Wednesday at noon. So, get to it and remember to leave us your email or contact info!

"Action Painters do twinkly heartache with the best of them ("Cold Dead Corner”), and their up-tempo numbers (“Never Say I'm Sorry") are convincingly jagged. It's when they let the excitement of being young and romantic make them dizzy, though, that they excel. Album opener "Absolutely Clear" can't decide whether it wants to be classic rawk or post-punk, so Haslow lets his voice tremble and shake and splits the difference, landing somewhere frenetic and epic and sweet. Buried beneath the artsy fury lies AM radio gold."

TVD's Angry Old Man

Came across these lyrics to a new Art Brut track 'The Replacements' over at the 9:30 board this morning:

"So many bands are just putting it on
Why can't they be the same as their songs?
I can't help it, I'm so naïve
Another record with my heart on the sleeve
Is he as cool, as he writes them?
Not always and hold that against him

I can't believe I've only just discovered the Replacements
How have I only just found out about the Replacements?
Some of them are nearly as old as my parents
How have I only just found out about the Replacements?

I want to love them but I'm can't be sure
I've been let down so many times before
This time I really want to believe
Another record with my heart on the sleeve
I hope I've finally found a band
That's not gonna let me down

I can't believe I've only just discovered the Replacements
How have I only just found out about the Replacements?
Some of them are nearly as old as my parents
How have I only just discovered the Replacements?

Second hand records are cheaper
Reissue CDs, extra tracks
Second hand CDs are cheaper
Reissue CDs, extra tracks
Second hand records are cheaper
Reissue CDs have extra tracks

I can't believe I've only just discovered the Replacements
Some of them are nearly the same age as my parents
I can't believe I've only just discovered the Replacements"

I know this feeling Eddie's peddling here. But it's been AGES.

I miss that twinge I had when hearing some of these for the first time. And no, I don't feel old at all really. (Really.)

Mott The Hoople - Honaloochie Boogie (Mp3)
Thin Lizzy - Little Girl In Bloom (Mp3)
Small Faces - All or Nothing (Mp3)
T-Rex - 20th Century Boy (Mp3)
The Replacements - Unsatisfied (Mp3)

Monday, April 20, 2009

TVD's Alternative Ulcer

A week ago I moved from Eastern Market to Petworth.It was, by far, the best decision I've made since moving to DC almost three years ago. I live with two really awesome guys and one kickass cat. On my first night there, one of my roommates and I had a lengthy discussion about the Smiths. Wednesday afternoon I drove a friend to BWI and the CD that was playing when I turned on my car was a Smith's CD. Then, Thursday morning, I awoke to the sounds of Morrissey's voice permeating into my bedroom from across the hall, where my other roommate lives. I'm always reluctant to discuss my love of the Smiths because everyone has a different story and who feels like reading *another* story about how much someone loves the Smiths?

Instead, since the Smiths seem to be everywhere in my life this week, I've decided to offer you some tasty rare (though I know that if you're a big Smiths fan I'm sure you already have them and are yawning right now) tracks - the songs themselves may not be rare, but the recordings are relatively so. I tried to be selective about which ones I've given you - for instance, How Soon Is Now is one you are most likely to hear on the radio, so I left that one out. Panic is probably the most "well-known" of the 6 here, but the kid on the chorus is too cute (there's video out there of this performance as well) and that song makes even a rainy afternoon like today seem less, well, London-esque. The recording is from a Eurotube session in 1986. Vicar in a Tutu is from the same year, from a performance on the Old Grey Whistle Test. Sheila Take a Bow is from the Smiths last performance on the Tube in 1987. Miserable Lie is from a John Peel session for BBC Radio in 1983. The version of Jeanne here is from 1984 and actually has Sandy Shaw on lead vocals for Radio One's Saturday Live. The only time Asleep was ever performed live was in 1985 at Eden Court in Scotland - I've put up the soundcheck for that song which is awfully and amazingly haunting.

Enjoy, kids. I'll be back later in the week with one of my delicious finds from Record Store Day.

The Smiths - Panic (Mp3)
The Smiths - Vicar in a Tutu (Mp3)
The Smiths - Sheila Take A Bow (Mp3)
The Smiths - Miserable Lie (Mp3)
The Smiths - Jeanne (Mp3)
The Smiths - Asleep (Mp3)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

TVD's Record Store Day 2009 Stanton USB Turntable Giveaway!

...We've selected a winner for The Stanton T.90 USB turntable! If it wasn't you this time around, stay tuned--we've got plenty more planned for the coming months. Thanks to all who entered!

It's true indeed--the blog runneth over.

We're pleased to announce that Stanton Magnetics, an industry leader in the design and manufacture of professional audio products for club and mobile DJs and turntablists has added to our already amazing Eleven Weeks of Record Store Day '09 Vinyl Giveaways--something to play that vinyl ON, The Stanton T.90.

The Stanton T.90 USB is a professional quality turntable with high-torque direct drive motor and a USB output, combining the latest digital technology with unique style. With Key Lock built-in, DJs can adjust the tempo of a record without affecting pitch, while USB and S/PDIF digital outputs make the T.90USB great for archiving vinyl.
Here's how the giveaway will work: every entry into our Record Store Day '09 Vinyl Contests over the course of the eleven weeks is automatically entered to with the Stanton turntable--even if you entered last week and and even if you've won or will win one of the vinyl packages we'll feature.

On Record Store Day, April 18, 2009 we'll randomly draw the email address from all of those who've entered over the course of the eleven weeks and ship that lucky individual The Stanton T.90.

And for the record, whose turntable do we have in TVD HQ? Why, that'd be a Stanton--purchased at DJ Hut, the guys behind the green ad over there to the left...

Friday, April 17, 2009

TVD's Record Store Day Parting Shots!

Back in December when I spoke with Michael Kurtz of Music Monitor Network, and organizer of Record Store Day to discuss this blog’s designation as the ‘Blog of Record’ for Record Store Day, we had quite a number of plans going forward.

And about a HALF of ‘em came to pass over the ensuing months.


The response to Record Store Day has been wonderfully positive--and certainly overwhelming. Neither he nor I knew just how big this endeavor would become or how unwieldy the process of information gathering and tracking would evolve. I mean, he knew it'd be big, just not HOW big.

The bands, the labels, the stores, the sponsors, and the promoters are all owed a huge thank you for participating in what is truly a labor of love.

Personally, I’d like to thank all of you who’ve been enthusiastic supporters of this blog’s mission and those of you who’ve taken part in the contests and have written to show your support. Brad McCormick at WMG is owed a special thanks for putting together our Eleven Weeks of Vinyl Giveaways. Stanton Magnetics and Worn Free are due some warm thanks as well.

If you’re in DC, Jason Cherkis has provided a fine overview of local events in the area at WCP’s Black Plastic Bag. The Record Store Day website has the most up to date listing of national and international going’s on right here. But the rest is up to you folks—get out there tomorrow and show the love.

And would it kill ya’ to buy some records?

Didn’t think so.

Go Home Productions - Making Plans For Vinyl (Mp3)
The Fad - Vinyl Paradise (Mp3)
Bankrupt - Record Store Renegade (Mp3)
Fable Factory - Record Store (Mp3)
Brian Seymour - Vinyl (Mp3)
Vinyl Candy - California (Mp3)
Coo Coo Rockin' Time - Put Records Back in the Record Store (Mp3)
Vinyl - Morse Code (Mp3)
The Records - Starry Eyes (Mp3)
Enough Rope - The Empty Record Store Cocaine Party Dream (Mp3)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

TVD's Angry Old Man

Mr. H put his finger right on an underlying point in the comments to yesterday's rant...bands like The Clash and even INXS are now lumped into the ‘classic rock’ category on the radio dial. You’ll see their videos NOT on MTV or VH1, but on VH1 Classic.

Record stores haven’t bought into this yet—you’ll still see The Clash and The Ramones and The Pistols in the Punk section and INXS in the ‘80’s section, but radio sees things differently these days in an effort to widen the scope and broaden the appeal of its sonic spot on the airwaves. If I’m a program director, carving a new niche from three makes fine sense in these fragmented times.

So, if I cast off ‘indie’ as did oh so casually yesterday—what am I now, a classic rock fan? JUST a rock fan? And what of the gray areas in between?

See, I’m certainly not an ‘alt rock’ listener. Or a ‘modern rock’ clod. Or a ‘prog rock’, you get the point.

Is THAT to be my lot then...just...'rawk?’

And what of these tracks? What 'category' do these artists fall under? (Think class project...)

Elliott Smith - I Didn't Understand (Mp3)
The Bathers - Twenty-Two (Mp3)
Bee and Flower - Don't Say Don't Worry (Mp3)
David Sylvian - Wave (Live) (Mp3)
The Blue Nile - Stay Close (Mp3)

(Another thing while I’m at it—to some of my friends on Facebook—bad call to out yourself as a Nickelback fan or a Creed fan. I mean, what I wouldn’t give for a ‘f-ing DOESN’T LIKE’ feature option.

Just keep that to yourself, emm kay?)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

TVD First Date with | Action Painters

The ‘grumpy old man’ that I’ve become, I WAS going to write this morning about being charmed by a tune right off the bat (and where’d that go?)—but went off on an ‘I loathe indie’ tangent that’s been brewing for what seems like eons now.

But that’s not to say you can’t get knocked out once or twice and right away these days. Love at first note, if you will.

We get emails from bands here with frequency but it’s rare that something just feels right and right away—as was the case with Action Painter’s ‘456’ video all cut and pasted below for you to take in. They’re younger than me, but channel the real thrill of 80’s new wave without sounding Stereogummy. Or Pitchforky. Or like Gang of Four. (Think Snowden meets Foreign Born...)

They say this is live in the studio, but the recording alone kills--the organic way they keys come in, the echoes on the chorus, and the twisty guitar parts...just refreshing, frankly.

Oddly, my favorite part of the clip is right at the front when Allsion blows the hair from out of her face. (Ah, the little things...)

Frontman Tom Haslow sat down with us on this last First Date before Record Store Day to talk vinyl and well, record stores:

"Vinyl is beautiful and tragic. It is big and fragile, hopelessly dated but iconic of times past. It's a lot like the people on the covers of my records. We Action Painters are too young to have grown up with vinyl, but I've gotten into buying cheap records at flea markets. Other people's junk has become my treasure. I like listening to new wave and punk and jazz on my record player. I like the way Stop Making Sense sounds on a record through a stereo: the crackle of the vinyl fading into the ambient room noise before the beat box kicks in on Psycho Killer. You pay attention. It transports you.

I remember tapes. The meditation that came from listening to an album linearly, being limited to the track list that the band decided you would listen to, not scanning the first 20 seconds of a song and deciding if it was good or not. It gave a band a chance to build a song up and showed faith in a listener's patience. There was something fetishistic about making a mix tape. Whether it was about the girl you were making it for or trying to express yourself through someone else's music, you could spend far too much time on it.

I miss the record store, that PHYSICAL space where you would go and look at shelves and posters and displays that people had spent time thinking about, curating. There was one independent music store where I grew up in upstate NY called Peacock Music. My high school days were about saving up to buy CD's there. It closed a couple of years ago.

A lot has been gained by making music instantly and infinitely accessible. It's easier for people to make and distribute and find an audience. Also, styles and genres have really cross bread over the last decade in a way that's been beautiful and progressive. But the sheer ubiquity of music has turned it into a commodity, like tap water instead of wine. One does not focus on the album, it's now a sea of songs that endlessly flows free and easily across your screen. I miss taking an album home, the feeling of anticipation of being a kid with this new album burning a hole in your coat, begging to be listened to. I remember buying bargain bin tapes in my horrible suburban mall of blues singers like Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker and Lightning Hopkins. I remember marveling at how cheap they were because they were so good. But it was my secret... underneath the rubble of forgotten losers and one hit wonders, there was this breathtaking bedrock that was the foundation of rock and roll.

The world's conversation about music has changed: music sites proclaim to know far too much with so much certainty about something that is intensely personal and fluid depending on the time of day, the mood, the year you're listening to it. Things are pronounced IMPORTANT one day and forgotten the next. Most of the time, the important thing in a review is the journalistic act itself; having a contrary opinion is the only way for the mediocre to distinguish themselves. The anonymity of online criticism has fractionalized it, broken up music taste into fantastically snobbish camps. People can afford to dig in to their narrow trenches.

Something is lost when you don't talk about music in person, when you don't hold the thing in your hands, look at the artwork, the track list, and pay money for it. Record companies have always exploited artists and ripped them off, but there was certainly a different appreciation for music when you had to pay for it, and there was a vague notion that it was a fair exchange going on: your money for someone else's songs. When people miss vinyl and complain about the passing of a physical medium, what they really miss is community and the glory of the physical object itself."

Action Painters - Super Market (Mp3)
Action Painters - Sooner Or Later (Mp3)
Action Painters - 456 (Mp3)