Monday, August 31, 2009

TVD | Friday Night...

...and I mean it in the sweetest, most wholesome way.

No, really.

OK, maybe not.

But admit it. You’re counting down the hours even now.

On Monday.

"All my lazy teenage boasts/Are my high-precision ghosts/ And they're coming round the track to haunt me...”

Reading by Jack Kerouac - Friday Afternoon in the Universe (Mp3)
Joe Jackson - Friday (Live '79) (Mp3)
The Darkness - Friday Night (Live) (Mp3)
The Cure - Friday I'm In Love (Mp3)
Bash & Pop - Friday Night (Is Killing Me) (Mp3)

Nicole Atkins & The Black Sea - The Tower from Nicole Atkins on Vimeo.

Friday, August 28, 2009

TVD Vinyl Giveaways for the Last 33-1/3 Days of Summer!

With the summer waning and kids here in DC actually going back to school today (...and BTW - what gives with that - in August?) TVD continues to gaze solely on the upside with our Last 33-1/3 Days of Summer Vinyl Giveaways!

This week it's TWO LP's for TWO winners. Get at us in the comments for the LP you prefer to pocket (...and my, how diverse we be, right?) Remember to leave us some contact info with your entry, ok? And if you're feeling Twitteriffic, we'll accept your 140 characters as an entry as well.

This 33-1/3 Days of Summer Vinyl Giveaway ends next Monday (8/31) when we'll queue up yet another! Now, get to it!

After traversing the galaxy as the road crew for fellow Oklahomans The Flaming Lips, a strange yet melodically intoxicating band has emerged - psych/prog/experimental pop quartet Stardeath and White Dwarfs. One-half stoners with nothing to do but roll joints on their King Crimson record sleeves and one-half confetti launchers/space bubble technicians, Stardeath and White Dwarfs debut their own free-floating circus with their first full-length album, The Birth. A mind-trip of emotion and mood, recalling everything from "upper" dance freak-outs to "downer" Floyd-esque anthems, The Birth celebrates a love of all things psychedelic. (Via Insound)

George Thorogood And The Destroyers have returned to Capitol/EMI for the July 28th release of The Dirty Dozen, a scorching new blues-rock album pairing six new studio recordings with six classic fan favorites, including three popular tracks that were previously out-of-print in the U.S. Thorogood And The Destroyers will travel to more than 30 U.S. cities this summer on a tour that includes 22 co-headlining dates with Jonny Lang.

TWITSTOCK! Parting Shots

The last time you have to look at any hippies. I promise.

mukisa / retrospect. ,

I didn't realize how difficult picking selections for Twitstock would be until I paused and analyzed the scope of what was being asked of me. Picking five songs that have and continue to influence me across genres is nerve-racking and painfully hard for me to do. Especially for all of the cool kids that check out The Vinyl District. Yeah. However, I figured that I should instead pick songs that kinda randomly came to mind. Ones that are not only influential --- but could actually work when set against an open, Woodstock-type of scene too. Records that somewhat conjure up and invoke the core, spirit, heart and open-ended creativity of psychedelia/ the very least.

Teardrop Explodes - Sleeping Gas (Mp3)
"It's just like sleeping ethereal...I wander around...I just wander around..."

Just wandering around within and against the average. That has pretty much been my physical and mental status message ever since I could remember. Right, but back to my favorite song from my favorite Teardrop Explodes album. So many layers and with such an epic feel to it. From the initial fade-in to the climbing, claustrophobic sound throughout the length of the whole deal. Golden horns, hyper keys, simple yet aggressive lead and bass riffs, well-timed vocal punch-ins and perfect drums. Pop with depth across the board. As you might have guessed from the entrance, Julian's lyrics struck a chord with me immediately at first listen years ago and still stir me to this day.

Reign Ghost - South Hemisphere Blues (Mp3)
I've been trying to track down affordable pressings of their material for a quite few years now (to no avail, frustrating mess - heh). Why? South Hemisphere Blues for one. Tinged with a haunting, swaying sound similar to early Jefferson Airplane, Subway and other similar prog/psych. artists of that era, this rare song embodies the feel of that time to me. Linda Squires's vocals are chilling as well. Sonically and spiritually haunting.

Cypress Hill - When The Shit Goes Down (Mp3)
DJ Muggs's production is notoriously psychedelic rock-influenced. That's fact and Black Sunday was probably his (and Cypress Hill's) crowning nod to that culture. Even more so than "Insane in the Membrane", the lightly menacing bassline works perfectly against the lazy horns pulled from the Outlaw Blues Band, B-Real and Sen Dog's vocals. The entire low-fi feel reminds me of why hip-hop around that particular era --- roughly '87 to '94ish --- was essentially an extension of 60s and 70s progressive and psych. music. Both on record and culturally in many ways.

Broadcast - Man Is Not a Bird (Mp3)
One of the best titles ever? I think so. I'm not completely sure why, but I really do think so. Incredible production on this song. I mean - really incredible whenever I break it down. Though Trish Keenan's tone and Cargill's bass line are amazing on this song (as with most Broadcast songs, imho), the drum session work of Bullock and Jenkins really keeps me hooked onto this song. The way that the patterns are layered and mixed down add to the downbeat prog feel. I was tempted to select "Pendulum" instead, but it's hard to pick between awesome dark and...umm...awesome lite (but with the same flavor and amount of calories). With that being said, I also really wanted to put a Stereolab song in place of this one. Again, that would be like swapping one family member (daughter) for another (mother)? Maybe "A Flower Called Nowhere", "Infinity Girl" or...

Stereolab - Op Hop Detonation (Mp3)
Stereolab is one of my top five groups, so thankfully I'm not picking a top song from them. However, this song pretty much captures the essence of Stereolab with the Moogs, harpsichord, clavinet and who knows how many other instruments to be named later. Whenever I listen to this, my emotions become ultra-conflicted. Part of me wants to float away. Another part wants to chase the sun. Another part feels like I'm tasting the sun. That's always a good thing to me. Plus, Laetitia's lyrics and voice against Gane and co. always helps to induce lucid dream states during any listening session. Yes. They are that serious to me. Heh. Not their best song (can go on for a while about them), but still so surreal...just like their messages often times.

Honorable mentions:
Dungen - Svart är Himlen (Mp3)
Blue Cheer - Out of Focus (Mp3)
Zakarrias - Cosmic Bridge (Mp3)
Black Moth Super Rainbow - Caterpillar House (Mp3)
Felt - Something Sends Me to Sleep (Mp3)
Scritti Polliti - Flesh & Blood (Mp3)

Bonus beats for TVD:

Portishead - Requiem for Anna (Un Jour Comme un Autre) (Mp3)
(for the TVD Portishead...umm...heads)
Film School - He's a DeepDeep Lake (Mp3)


Day five: the download delirium continues:


Paul Michel

So I decided my tracks would be politically themed. Because politics inherently 'matters', right? And also 'cuz these songs rule. That also matters.

Elbow - Leaders of the Free World (Mp3)
I'll start with one of my favorite bands of all time. These guys are sick -- anthemic songwriting, cinematic orchestration, bad-ass drumming, some of the best lyrics of all time... and they're British! This song's about George Bush, but the chorus line "the leader of the free world/are just little boys throwing stones/and they're easy to ignore/til they're knocking on the door of your homes" is one of the all time best politically-themed choruses ever. And seeing as how Obama's gonna throw some more cannon fodder on Afghanistan, it kind of applies to him, too.

El-P - Deep Space 9mm (Mp3)
Going alphabetically here. El-P's bleak lyrics and anxious beats are great counterparts to one of the best rap songs ever. Loosely political, this one's more urban day-in-the-life type stuff. It also taught me the meaning of the word 'murk' (sp?), as in "getting murked on a train over Roosevelt Island". Whenever I need a new sound, or need to get my head out of whatever creative rut, El-P is there.

Majority Rule - Endings (Mp3)

My favorite Majority Rule song. Disclaimer: it's my brother's band. But these guys matter -- they matter because they're family. They matter because they're absolutely great. They matter because they elevated hardcore music into something more creative and intelligent and melodic. You should've seen the moshpits at the Wilson Center when these guys played. So much energy it literally brought tears to my eyes. Key line "Countdown to endings/broken contracts can break hearts".

Muse - Apocalypse Please (Mp3)
Also British. And the guy kind of sounds like Thom Yorke with a rope around his testicles -- which in the case of arena rock is a good thing. "Its time we saw a miracle/its time for something biblical" -- Matthew Bellamy actually sings this with complete sincerity. I want this guy singing "this is the end of the world" during the actual end of the world. Another song about George Bush (kinda) but so well put together. And who doesn't like a good revolution anthem now and again.

Refused - Shape of Punk to Come (Mp3)
Swedish hardcore at its finest. No one else has ever sung so earnestly about revolution and the punk/hardcore community. If you were straight edge or vegan, you knew about these guys, for sure. They went on to form some horribly crappy bands after this, but this song (and this entire record) holds up after almost 15 years. Whenever I listen to this, I'm instantly transported back to the days of house shows and serious discussions on the state of the world and anarchical syndicalism as a valid social movement. And that idealism is what matters the most, I guess...

Catch Paul Michel this Saturday (8/29) at The Rock and Roll Hotel with Mother Mother and We Were Pirates.

Thursday, August 27, 2009


"Good morning! What we have in mind is breakfast in bed for four hundred thousand..."

Chris Ruffner, Kosmo Vinyl, 9:30 Club DJ

For my contribution to TVD's Twitstock event, I've chosen songs that reflect the musical interests as seen on my twitter profile. So included are an example of a fav Soul Music deep cut, a Detroit Techno track, a interesting remix, and 3 minute pop gem.

J. J. Barnes - Baby Please Come Back Home (Mp3)

When I first starting listening to tracks that became popular within the Northern Soul scene, J. J. Barnes "Baby Please Come Back Home" became of my own personal favs. Recorded and released on one of many smaller Detroit labels trying to compete with Motown in the 60s. It was a minor hit at the time of release, that later became sought after by UK soul music collectors.

Paperclip People - Throw (Mp3)
I grew up in the Detroit area and even though I've settled in the DC area, the rock, soul, jazz and techno music coming from that region continues to provide much of the soundtrack to my life. I started listening to and collecting some of those early Detroit Music techno records from the innovators Derrick May, Juan Atkins and Kevin Saunderson. Carl Craig was part of the second wave of Detroit musicians who carried on the tradition of creating innovate techno tracks. Here under one of Craig's many identities, Paperclip People, is his track "Throw", which remains one of my all time favorite tracks.

Felipe Musica - 1901 (Roots Remix) (Mp3)
One of the more interesting remixes I've heard of late was done for a Phoenix track from their new album. 1901 (Roots Remix) created by Felipe Musica, takes a Parisian band and drops them into Studio One in Jamaica. A very clever remix indeed this one...

Cliff Hillis - Northern Lights (Mp3)
In a perfect world Cliff Hillis's "Northern Lights", a radio friendly ditty would be topping the charts and blaring from cars across the land. Three minutes of pure pop bliss!

Prefab Sprout - The Yearning Loins (Mp3)
Normally I probably would have chosen a cover as my last pick, but the other night I had the oddest dream involving Prefab Sprout's "Two Wheels Good" album, so had to go with a track from that one. I even have an original UK vinyl pressing of this album, when it was first released under the title "Steve McQueen". This is such a brilliant album start to finish it was tough to pick just a single song off it, but ending going with "The Yearning Loins."

That's right - we've got two copies of We Were Pirates latest "Cutting Ties" for the first two people to Tweet us that you want 'em. Mention @vinyldistrict and @wwpmusic and they're yours!

Mike Boggs, We Were Pirates

Autumn is by far my favorite season and it is rapidly approaching. About this time every year, I get pretty excited by the prospect of getting in the car and driving out to the country. I tried to pick songs that would make a good Autumn driving mix.
Simon & Garfunkel - Baby Driver (Mp3)
For some reason, when it starts getting cooler I want to listen to songs with a more organic sound (summer is generally reserved for the louder, more obnoxious music).  And aside from the screeching engine sound effect, this song is simple, organic, and damn catchy. And who can argue with a song that so brilliantly uses car and driving terminology as euphamisms for sex.
Also, since this is a mix for Vinyl District, I had to choose a song off of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” because it is one of my favorite records to play on vinyl.
Delta Spirit - Gimme Some Motivation (Mp3)
This is one of those songs that I wish I had written because it would be a blast to play live. It’s so simple and straight-ahead it kills me. I love it. Like Baby Driver, this too is a great song to drive to when the leaves start to turn.
Yo La Tengo - Autumn Sweater (Mp3)
This whole album (“I Can Hear The Heart Beating As One”) reminds me of Autumn road trips. In fact, a few years ago a friend of mine and I sold our cars and bought little Honda motorcycles and set out on a week-long road trip through the Appalachian Mountains and the version of “Little Honda” on the record was kind of our theme song. 
Anyway, aside from being a song that seems to capture my overly-romantic love of Autumn, this song in particular seems to showcase what I love so much about Yo La Tengo: the simplicity. The drum beat, and most of the music are the same throughout the whole song, the melody is simple and yet somehow it keeps me interested for nearly five-and-a-half minutes.
Iron & Wine - Naked As We Came (Mp3)
Although this stands alone as the one really somber track on the mix, Autumn and Winter are generally when I dust off the Iron & Wine records and listen. I usually make a few backpacking trips on the AT when it starts getting cold and Iron & Wine gets a lot of play driving to and from the trail head.  The lyrics of this song are brilliantly romantic and creepy at the same time.  It may be a bit morbid, but I really like the idea of two lovers discussing their eventual departure from this world.
Emitt Rhodes - With My Face On The Floor (Mp3)
Although Emitt Rhodes seemed to borrow pretty heavily from Paul McCartney on this record, he did so in a way where his sound  still managed to be unique.  And it's tough to fault him when his songs are often as good or better than some of my favorite Paul-fronted Beatles songs.  
I love the production on this song and the whole album. The guitar tones have just the right amount of crunch, the piano has a nice natural warmth, the harmonies mix really well, and the drums and percussion are at the perfect level in the mix. The production is especially impressive when you consider he played and recorded everything on this record himself.

Catch We Were Pirates this Saturday (8/29) at The Rock and Roll Hotel opening for Paul Michel and Mother Mother.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

TVD's (TWITSTOCK!) First Dates with | Amanda Zelina and Cavalier Rose

What’s TWITSTOCK! without a few @newacts for you to #follow?

Earlier in the week we chatted with Amanda Zelina and Chase from Cavalier Rose and their missives follow...

"What can I say about mom and pop record stores? That's a loaded question... filled with memories I can taste, scents that still lay on the tip on my nose and sounds that will be forever en-grained in me. 

My first trip to a record store came quite late in life, embarrassingly so. I grew up on tapes and Cd' of the down falls of being born into this "contemporary" world of the mid 1980's and on. Although  because of it's tardiness I feel like it heightened my experience even more. 

I have been a musician all my life and grew up on Soul, Blues, Motown etc. With my somewhat aged taste in music I was obviously drawn to the crackle of the vinyl sound as soon as I discovered it. The scent of the dusty cardboard sleeves and the imperfections of the sometimes scratched or nicked records made my experience that much better. 

My dad brought me to my very first record store when I was around 15 years old. I remember walking in and having this rush of excitement wash over me like when you listen to your favourite part of that particular song that always " gets you". I looked out onto the vast sea of crates filled with these square cardboard things called "records". We were in Nova Scotia on one of my dads conferences; The smell reminded me of the hours I spent sifting through the oldest books I could find at the library, hoping at a young age to uncover the secrets and myths of what comes with age. I've always been a keen eye or ear for the classic knowledge that only comes with years lived. 

The rest of the experience that day is all a haze. I know I left with a 7" of Bob Marley's and the Wailers. Reggae was also something we cherished in the household. Soon after that, naturally came: Tom Waits, ZZ Top, Johnny Cash, Son House, and any rare blues record I could find...mainly delta blues. 

Since than, I have lived/visited in California, Italy, Southern France,  Switzerland, Toronto, All of Canada etc. Along the way I ALWAYS stop in to mom and pop record stores. To me there is nothing that can touch the experience of vinyl. I will forever be in love with it, and always be in search of those gems."

Amanda Zelina - My Version Of It (Mp3)
Amanda Zelina - Obsessed (Mp3)
"Like the vast majority of people my age, I grew up listening to CDs and eventually MP3s, fueled by the advent of Napster, Audio Galaxy, and eventually the iPod. It’s just how things went. Unlike a lucky few, I did not have the luxury of a parent’s old record collection to rummage through and/or an old turntable to fire up. But still, in opposition to most of the people my age, I somehow grew up listening exclusively to the likes of Hendrix, Cream, The Beatles etc. Needless to say, I never understood why none of my friends were into the same music I was. While on the bus to school, the scenario was often that I’d have my discman blasting Zeppelin IV while my friends were sitting around talking about the new Korn or Bush which I was indifferent.

For me, the beauty and mystique of vinyl wasn’t realized until late in high school.  Having been brainwashed into welcoming the more sterile sounds of digitized music mediums, I heard a few of my favorite LPs on vinyl for the first time while at a friend’s house. My buddy’s father and I got talking about music, and come to find out he had an amazing vinyl collection. He took me down to their basement and let me check out what he had. I could have been down there for days, but The Rolling Stones’ “Let it Bleed” immediately caught my eye and I insisted we throw it on.    

As soon as the needle dropped, I knew something different was about to happen. I’d heard this record hundreds of times, but “Gimme Shelter” proceeded to blow my mind as it never had before. It was as though I was listening to the album for the first time. The richness of the sound and the roundness of the low end crushed me. I was immediately aware that all the bands I had loved over the years were always intended to be heard on vinyl...I had been missing out. Since that day I’ve chosen vinyl over other listening means whenever possible, and I can’t express enough excitement regarding the resurgence of vinyl’s popularity in the music being recorded and listened to these days."

Cavalier Rose - Tidal Crusher (Mp3)

Cavalier Rose - Primary Colors (Mp3)

Catch Cavalier Rose tomorrow night (8/27) at The Annex in Manhattan and download the band's debut EP FREE at their website!

TWITSTOCK! | Day Three

Swap 'rucksack' for 'turntable' and I think he may have really been onto something:

"…I see the whole thing is a world full of rucksack wanderers, Dharma Bums refusing to subscribe to the general demand that they consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap they didn't really want anyway such as refrigerators, TV sets, cars,…and general junk you finally always see a week later in the garbage anyway, all of them imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume, I see a vision of a great rucksack revolution thousands or even millions of young Americans wandering around with rucksacks, going up to mountains to pray, making children laugh and old men glad, making young girls happy and old girls happier, all of 'em Zen Lunatics who go about writing poems that happen to appear in their heads for no reason and also by being kind and also by strange unexpected acts keep giving visions of eternal freedom to everybody and to all living creatures. —Jack Kerouac, The Dharma Bums, 1958

Marissa Payne, The Anti DC

I’m not really a social animal. In fact, to put it bluntly, I hate most of humanity. Mostly because they’re all stupid. Except for you. Mostly because you’re reading this.
The problem is I probably don’t know you, which means I spend a good majority of my time sitting at home alone in the dark. The only real plus-side to this exciting lifestyle is that with a good song, sitting at home alone in the dark is as good and probably even better than going out to a DC bar and pretending to socialize. Unless, of course, I was meeting you at a DC bar. I’d socialize with you. But until we meet, here are five songs I love in the dark.

Radiohead – All I Need (Mp3)
You can count on this song to be on any list I will ever make no matter if I’m sitting home alone in the dark or not. (Although most of the time I am.) Just listen to what happens two minutes and 56 seconds in and you’ll understand.
Beirut – Guyamas Sonora (Mp3)
Time changes! No, literally, the beat changes in the middle of this song. I didn’t notice until I listened to this in the dark. It’s amazing how much more your ears pick up when you block some of your other senses.
Portishead – The Rip (Mp3)
This whole album is probably meant to be listened to in the dark but maybe not alone. This song makes me want to make out. It’s dreamy.
Phil Collins – In the Air Tonight (Mp3)
If you don’t shed a tear during this song, you probably have no soul. Seriously, listen to it in the dark and you’ll be wailing louder than Phil.

Bright Eyes - The Calendar Hung Itself (Mp3)
I was an angsty college kid once who played a lot of emo on my college radio station. Um, surprise. But while I’ve outgrown most of the whiny bullshit Mr. Conor Oberst made prior to his transformation into Jeff Tweedy, Jr., there’s something about listening to this song in the dark that still gets me. I think it’s the maracas. (They fill ‘em with beans!)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


"To get back to the warning that I received. You may take it with however many grains of salt that you wish. That the brown acid that is circulating around us isn't too good. It is suggested that you stay away from that. Of course it's your own trip. So be my guest, but please be advised that there is a warning on that one, ok?"

But the BLUE acid? Totally, totally cool.

UPDATE! WEXT Radio, New York talks TVD and and their TWITSTOCK! appearance. Download the podcast here!

Valerie Paschall, DCist

Five Songs that Can Slow My City Walk:
One of my coworkers gave me the nickname "Mafia" because apparently, I walk like I'm about to put a hit out on somebody. And that's just at work. I've lived in the DC area for just over two years but I've already perfected my city walk and whether I'm listening to Stereolab or The Stooges, I probably look like I'm about to run you down. However, much to the delight of anyone who I've ever willed out of my path, I've found a few that can slow me down without boring me, depressing me or putting me to sleep.

Animal Collective - Banshee Beat (Mp3)
Honestly, I could fill this list with tracks 5-8 of Feels, but something about the minimalist instrumentation and hearing Avey Tare at his most hushed and melodic just makes me want to stare upward and smile. Thus, making it difficult to concentrate on where I'm going. 

Four Tet - Hands (Mp3)
The undercurrent of twinkling hi-hats and chimes under warn keyboard samples gives a very vivid mental picture of some waterfall a hemisphere away from the siren-filled streets of the District. It's very rare that something with this prominent of a drum beat will actually stop (er, slow) me in my tracks since I'll latch onto most any beat and walk at that pace. Then again, most songs aren't as vividly atmospheric as "Hands." 

Portishead - It's a Fire (Mp3)
"Breathe on, little sister, breathe on." That may seem like more of a mantra for getting feet moving but the slowest beat on Dummy has a tryptophan-like effect: I want to sit down in my aural food coma and believe that everything will be okay. But more often than not, I don't sit...but I do notice more details in the buildings and people that I pass. 

Grizzly Bear - Colorado (Mp3)
Some Grizzly Bear tracks move out of the relaxing category and straight into slumber-inducing, but the lush orchestration and singing in round on this one is more beautiful than boring. An absolute must for days where I leave for my one-hour break truly wanting to beat some sense into my senseless coworkers. 

The Breeders - Off You (Mp3)
Although some of their most celebrated work contains bizarre sound effects (see: sewing machines), distortion or sugar rush tempos, don't sleep on the Deal sisters' ability to do minimalism. This brooding track that comes in just shy of five minutes and features little more than sparing vocals and acoustic guitar and begs for introspection, even if I'm just coming off the metro.

Chris Wienk, program director
Exit 97.7, WEXT is a progressive radio station from Amsterdam, NY that serves the state's Capital District (in and around Albany, NY).

Hello TVD reader,

As you might expect, being chosen by TVD to find songs to post and to write up a blog blurb is a great honor. However, it is also a very intimidating thing. Like you, I am an avid reader of Jon's missives. I find his stories compelling, and of course there is the music. He has gotten me back to my roots of 70s rock, and for that I thank him. But how does one measure up?

The post I leave you with today tries hard to encompass the philosophy I have always about music, and that embodies our radio station, is that great music has no boundary of genre, or age. I love all kinds of music, classical music from Baroque to early 20th Century, pop, rock, country, R&B, and the list goes on.

The songs I leave you with today will hopefully find a space in your heart. Whether you know the songs, or not, I trust that you will find value in their art.

Where to start?

Phantogram - When I'm Small (Mp3)

The radio station I work for is a champion of local music. We call it Local 518 (yup...that's our area code). The hardest task I had in choosing these five songs was to decide which Local 518 song/artist to give you to sample. For all the Local 518 artists reading this post, please know that I do not slight you by not selecting your song. I chose this one because it has already been sent out as a free to download song from another radio station. Phantogram is now making a large push to become known around the world (with a national radio push and releases internationally).

I think you'll find the ambient sounds, ethereal vocals, and hip-hop rhythms juxtaposed to give you a real sense of a chilled out urban setting. When Sarah sings, you don't even need to understand the words, which feel like a psychedelic ride in a car bouncing on its shocks. Just bob-nod your head and you'll be smiling in no time.

Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros - 40 Day Dream (Mp3)
Dang, what a cool sound. Remember that TVD has ignited the 70s once again for me. Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros have been posted/blogged/written about/talked about. I need not tell you more about them. Just the sound and feel of this song take me back to the heady era of 73-75. Love it! Todd Rundgren would be proud of this (I hope!).

Aztec Camera - We Could Send Letters (Mp3)
I remember hearing this little Scottish pop song (Oblivious) and thought "ooo, how cool." Then we heard the album, and you at once realized what an amazing musician Roddy Frame was (and is). He was just a teenager when he first hit the music scene. Astounding that someone a year younger than I could create something as beautiful as this song. Back then, I didn't know it was possible to be so young and create such art. If you ever find the song "Hot Club of Christ"by Aztec Camera, you have to listen in. This video is hideous, but love the fretwork:

Bob Dylan - The Times They Are a Changin' (Mp3)

Dude! Seriously, I was never really into Bob. Don't tell anyone. I've never denied his influence on pop and rock music though. I just never really got into this guy who couldn't sing, and just strummed an acoustic guitar. Off to American Bandstand: "Dick, you can't dance to it; so, I'd have to give it a 24." So, why would I include Bob on the list on TVD? I am decidedly not all that cool, but this past year, I think I finally joined those who are cool in "getting Bob Dylan." His latest album, "Together Through Life," blew me away. It came out of nowhere to club me over the head. So, why didn't I include a song from this new masterpiece? Because I wanted to remind myself of his true influence, and remember, I now "get" Bob Dylan. The times they are a changin', indeed. Thanks, Bob.

Otis Redding - Hard to Handle (Mp3)
OMG! R&B and Soul are the genres that really fire me up. The opening of this 1968 hot hit are sure to get a dance floor filled. Otis Redding will live forever! From 1964 to 1967, he release 6 amazing albums, and yet his biggest hit, (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay, came after his death in a plane crash at the age of 26, on December 10th, 1967. This came from the other album released posthumously in 1968, "The Immortal Otis Redding." Many people who are not familiar with the genius of Otis Redding would perhaps know this song better by The Black Crowes, who surely did the song justice. I bet even Otis would smile to hear it.

Monday, August 24, 2009


If the Woodstock generation can be exemplified by one humongous, sprawling multi-day event, the Twitter generation in contrast bathes not in mud (or bud)—but in brevity. Twittering's a succinct, uniquely solo endeavor, promulgated in office cubicles, Blackberries, and personal laptops.

But a spirit of community does indeed exist among the pixelated 140 character bursts of info from a myriad of locations. It's tuned in, turned on, and dropping recommendations for this or that track, LP, or band. Its users point the way toward other Twitterers and other blogs via '#FollowFridays' and '#MusicMondays' — and community's born, man.

So, with the anniversary of the original Woodstock having just passed, we've invited the many Twitterers who follow TVD and vice versa, to go one better than the 140 character limitation and, y'know—riff a little bit about what's spinning on their own turntables.

All this week we've got other bloggers, music writers and reviewers, and some of the bands themselves, in a convergence of both the Woodstock and Twitter generations in something we're calling—(...)—TWITSTOCK!

Help yourself to the blue acid.

David Malitz, Washington Post, Post Rock

Like any good music nerd, I've spent a decent amount of time over the last few months working on a best albums of the decade list. But as I was going through this largely pointless, mostly narcissistic exercise I realized something -- not all bands actually get around to making a proper full-length album. So here are five bands you won't ever see mentioned on a Best Albums of the (Whatever) list, because for whatever reason, they never did. But these songs deserve to be noticed.

The DoubleHappys - The Other's Way (Mp3)
Shayne Carter is one of a small army of pop savants from New Zealand who started writing blissful, slightly-off-kilter, very perfect songs in the late-'70s/early-'80s. He's best known for his fine work with Straitjacket Fits, but it was brief time with the DoubleHappys, his short-lived band prior to the Fits, that remains his crowning achievement. They managed a 7" and a and EP before a freak train accident killed band member Wayne Elsey, bringing the DoubleHappys to an immediate halt. The limited output the band left behind can stand with the best work by fellow Kiwis the Clean, Toy Love, the Bats and the Verlaines, which is honestly the highest praise I can dole out. This is the from the 7" -- all woozy guitars and warbling vocals and lyrics that split the difference between hopeless and hopelessly romantic. All of the band's recorded output is collected on the compilation "Nerves." It's one of the best CDs in the world, ever. For real.

The Last Wave - Bars and Barons (Mp3)
This song comes from Teenbeat's 2004 sampler. It was the last year the iconic indie-pop label released its annual compilation, ending a top-notch nine-year run. As far as I can tell this is the only song that exists from the Last Wave, which was a project helmed by Greg Pavlovcak. He was previously in the Saturday People, who were as nifty a little pop band as you could find. This song hints at what could have been, but it's so perfect -- the sing-songy vocal melody, cleanly strummed guitar, "Wooo ooo-ooo"s in the chorus -- that maybe there was just no need to continue. Pavlovcak now plays in Philadelphia's Public Record, where he explores much more experimental sounds. Every band that Pavlovcak has been connected to by a couple degrees -- most of which are mentioned in this City Paper article by Mark Jenkins from 2002 -- is worth checking out.

Jonathan Halper - Leaving My Old Life Behind/I Am a Hermit (Mp3)
A true mystery. I was introduced to this song when, for some reason, I decided to watch a DVD compilation of short films by Kenneth Anger, maybe because I wasn't feeling like enough of a pretentious asshole that day. The film itself is, y'know, arty and weird and some kid at Wesleyan has probably written a very incisive paper about it. But it was the song (actually a pair of songs edited together) that grabbed me. It's just one meek sounding guy with an acoustic guitar and some spooky sound collages in the background. Syd Barrett is an obvious reference point but this sounds even too weird for him. The titles really drive home the solitary nature of this recording. Maybe some more songs by Jonathan "Santos L." Halper will magically appear someday, but the mystery of and possibility that he recorded this six minutes of music and was never heard from again is a lot more intriguing. WFMU (who else?) has a bit more on the topic.

Monkey 101 - French Feelings (Mp3)

Released as the A-side of a single on Siltbreeze on 1989, and it would certainly fit in on the revitalized label today. Chugging, grimy guitar, snotty vocals, angsty lyrics ("I'm so damned impatient/Why the fuck didn't you call?"), all in a tidy two-minute package. No manufactured lo-fi, thrift store chic or blog buzz. Just the pure stuff. The Philadelphia City Paper caught up with singer Paul Kowalchuk back in 2002 after he won a Matador Records-sponsored contest to meet Robert Pollard. Ha! This song and its almost-equally-awesome b-side, "Now That You Have Left Me," are both on the "Tar'd and Further'd" comp which collects lots of Siltbreeze's early singles by bands such as GBV, the Dead C, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and more.

This Poison! - Poised Over the Pause Button (Mp3)
It wasn't on the original C-86 compilation, but it sure has that sound -- those hyper-strummed, chiming guitars, manic vocals and militaristic drumbeat that leaves you gasping for breath by the time the song is over. This was the band's second 7", released on Reception Records, a label run by the Wedding Present. Which was proof that David Gedge sure knew the kind of sound he liked. It's also one of those songs that so perfectly captures a time and place and sound that it shows up on numerous compilations, including the excellent Rough Trade Shops Indie Pop 1.

Joe Warminsky, Popcesspool

Until the Cramps' Lux Interior died early this year, I had no knowledge of the "Lux & Ivy's Favorites" series that some of the WFMU dudes had been compiling. It took a Phawker post for me to get hip, and I'll admit that since then, I've only listened to a fraction of the 250-plus songs. I'm in no position to offer any over-arching insights about what the 11-Zip-file opus amounts to. But I will say this: Other than the fact that the files are a minor nightmare to sort in iTunes, I'm consistently jazzed by all of it.

So here's a taste of my taste, in the following order: a buzzy Indonesian rock instrumental, some elegant blues, a bizarro nightclub cut, some throbbing proto-psychobilly, and a hillbilly ballad.

The Tielman Brothers - Marabunta (Mp3)
Lonnie Johnson - Tomorrow Night (Mp3)
Kay Martin & Her Bodyguards - The Heel (Mp3)
The Musical Linn Twins - Rockin' Out The Blues (Mp3)
Ric Cartey - Young Love (Mp3)

Christopher Smith, Groovemonkey and Covered That

While in no particular order, the 5 songs I have chosen really seemed to already be there, in a neat pile on my desk, some already well worn, and others looking to be dusted off and admired again. And though it is an overused cliche, as cliches go its pretty spot on... these songs are my friends, and whether I have heard them last night, or last year, it is as if we have been in the room together always, with no time apart.

Muse - Feeling Good (Mp3)
I have always been a huge Nina Simone fan. Her cover of the song penned in 1965 has always been a favorite of mine. But when Muse recorded the song, it took on even more meaning for me. There is a passion and cry and a hunger that is elevated by the tight vocals and the industrial structure of the rhythm section of the recording. It give me great hope, like I have emerged from the wreckage of my own history and I am, indeed, feeling good.

Beck - Guero (Mp3)
The title track to Beck's groundbreaking 2005 record of the same name, each listen has me slipping into a rambling pimp roll and strolling the main drag of any Mexican community in my home state of California. Slipping in and out of taquerias, stopping for Horchata, leaning against a building and watching the neighborhood go by, there is an elegant beauty and comfort in the vegetable vans, horns, and the ever present Mexican accents in the background. The song is a teleporter, every time.

Tosca - Susuki (Mp3)
Another title track selection, this song never ever fails to put me into a place of supreme joy. I was on a date with the girl I eventually married, driving around 4 am thru the empty streets of San Francisco, on our way back from a rave. Downtempo chill mixed with the warm breeze coming thru the windows, flashing yellow lights synchronized on the downbeat, and not a single car on the streets all the way home. True story.

No Doubt - Simple Kind Of Life (Mp3)
This song gave me they keys to my wife's heart and to her head. Not just this song, but the entire record, helped me understand life and love from a woman's perspective. Gwen Stefani illustrates every level of emotion that her breakup with fellow band member Tony Kanal brought, and with that break up came her climb out of the despair of a broken heart to the anthems of a powerful woman in love trying to figure it all out. But this song is especially meaningful to me as it lays out the fragile yet hopeful nature of trying to balance the need for independence with the desire to get married and start a family.

The Clash - Rock The Casbah (Mp3)
I had just moved to NYC. I was 19 or 20. I remember going to jukejoints like the Scrap Bar in the West Villiage, hanging on stoops with punks in Alphabet City, and sneaking in the service entrance at Limelight to avoid cover charges. A steady mix of disco, new wave and punk seemed to be the soundtrack of the times, but this song always stood taller than the rest. It gave me the courage to stand up for myself, to stand against 'The Man', who at that time were my parents back in California, or religion or whatever. It was my anthem. "Shareef don't like it. Rock the Casbah." Still rockin it after all these years. Thanks Joe. Really.

Friday, August 21, 2009

TVD's Parting Shots

An addendum to this week’s ‘Get’s Lucky’ series—I realized I posted out of order. For maximum effectiveness, the order should be Thursday, Tuesday, Wednesday, followed by Monday. Stir, repeat.

This Friday we get lucky for an entirely different reason. Stephe from Heroes of Popular Wars (who you just might recall from our First Date with the band last May) joins us with ten tracks for your weekend to come.

Heroes of Popular Wars have just released the stellar ‘Church and McDonald’ and to quote another fine blog, The Devil Has The Best Tuna, “Sparsely atmospheric Eno-ish ambient electro pop . . . which reminds me of the coolest British band of the early 80s, Japan."

And we concur. Now, onward!

The Beatles - A Day in the Life (Mp3)
This song totally changed the idea of what a pop song could be: two totally different musical ideas in totally different keys, no chorus, and an entire 20 seconds of random noise in the middle of the song. None of these should belong on the most loved track on the most popular album up to that time but in Lennon/McCartney's hands the difficult sonic elements are softened by the incredible melodies and the playful lyrical puzzles. I never get tired of it. I think it's because rather than hitting you over the head it reveals itself over time. It's a treat for your head and your heart.

Yeasayer - No Need to Worry/Red Cave (from La Blogoteque) (Mp3)
I had heard a lot about Yeasayer when the live video was released, much of it contradictory, which made me think that they must be great. La Blogoteque, a French website, recorded the band doing an incredible version of this two-piece song, using only their voices and beer bottles as percussion while taking the metro to the taping. It made me realize a great doesn't need anything but great rhythm and melody.

Talk Talk - After the Flood (Mp3)
Man, I love this gorgeous song from TT's last album Laughing Stock. It's so subtle that sometimes it's hard to tell when an instrument changes a note. Also, the vocals don't start until well into the 3rd minute of the song. My favorite moment is the oscillation of the organ after the guitar solo. When the noisy guitar finally trails off, there is a small break and the band breaks down into a part so quiet that you can hear the one note beg to be in tune with itself. Beautiful.

Hold Steady - Constructive Summer (Mp3)
Fun and funny. This is a rocking and smart song splits the difference between celebrating and making fun of every single promise that sweetly has gone unfulfilled. The music is simple - a cross between Husker Du and the Sweet - which really draws attention to the super-literate rhymes and great melody. It's singalong song that needs to be should be read.

Peter Gabriel - Thru the Wire (Mp3)
This is complex music made to feel simple. Though the verse is in an odd time signature, I didn't realize it until the 10th or 11 the time I heard because it was done so subtly. The chorus has both a big guitar and a cowbell and could be a bridge between U2 and Blue Oyster Cult but the angular guitar and sharp and terse production keep this from becoming pedestrian 80s radio rock.

Alice Coltrane - Journey in Satchidananda (Mp3)
Patient (noticing a pattern?). Alice mixes hard bop and Indian raga which both soothes and hypnotizes the listener. Her harp's notes dangerously lay in and out of the other instruments, aping her husband's obsession with modality. This pioneer's work would later, along with Brian Eno, influence a whole generation of music makers and listeners to a less direct, more ambient kind of music making.

David Sylvain - Darkest Dreaming (Mp3)
I had heard of, but not heard, Japan - Sylvain's 80s band - but I was compared to him in a review and this song was uploaded. Holy crap, this was every thing I was trying to do. A simple piano with swells of strings, guitars and synths create a true ambient soundscape but the un-rushed melody stuck in my head for days.Sylvain's baritone aches such I went back and bought his whole back catalogue. He has a whole career of great sounds married with lush well-crafted tones.

Kanye West - Gold Digger (Mp3)
Smart, fun, danceable pop that proves melody isn't required fro an incredible hook. Every line is complicated but a blast.

Husker Du - Celebrated Summer (Mp3)
Amazing song, incredible dynamics and a killer take are the keys here. Ignore the shitty production, ignore the borderline undecipherable lyrics, pay attention to that passion of the performance and the groundbreaking melding of song craft and aggression. A true classic.

Radiohead - Idioteque (Mp3)
This song changed the indie game. This song leveled the playing field and now any instrument you could make rock was a rock instrument AND it has a great chorus.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

TVD Recommends | That Summertime Sound by Matthew Specktor

Do you recall that feeling when, in the middle of reading a particular book, you simply don’t want it to end? You linger, taking your time, putting off that very last page. That’s where I am right now with Matthew Specktor’s joyous ‘That Summertime Sound.’ I mean, I’ll get to the ending—I’m just in no rush.

Others have finished the book, however:

"Matthew Specktor’s beautiful and arresting first book, That Summertime Sound, chronicles a different sort of ’tween experience—the obsessive desires and frustrations of a young man caught in the time warp between adolescence and adulthood in the ’80s. Specktor, an L.A. native who has worked for years in film development, has a crisp, evocative style that captures both the nuances of a particular time and the universal themes of any insightful coming-of-age story. We’ve all been there."
—L.A. Times

“A rock ‘n’ roll road trip that’s also a page-turner.”
—Nylon Mag

For us, Specktor’s waxed nostalgic - about wax:

"I don’t believe in fetishizing formats. Vinyl, cassette, MP3, CD. Same thing with books: the scent and texture of certain kinds of paper can almost make me faint with happiness, but the important thing is the text. How it gets to you is much less important.

That said, records make me happy. Their vulnerability makes me so, their limitation. Forty minutes, twenty per side, their chipping, their popping, the way their sleeves wear and erode and start to show the shapes, the scuffed corona of the record inside. I dig frailty. It’s not nostalgia that makes me respond to vinyl, it’s mortality and specificity. I put a record on the turntable, I listen harder, I commit a little bit more than I do to digital formats. The question isn’t whether in collecting records, the music thus “belongs to me.” It’s the opposite: with a record, I belong that little bit more to it.

The PVC edition of Big Star’s 'Sister Lovers.' Finding a mint copy of the Flamin’ Groovies 'Shake Some Action' for three bucks in a Massachusetts basement, after I’d been searching for it for years. The place down the street from an old girlfriend’s house in San Francisco, an unmarked storefront where I could get old Blue Note records for a buck or two a piece: Andrew Hill, Dexter Gordon. I talk about this stuff and the default becomes nostalgia, but really I’m thinking about the unpredictability, the pleasures of the search. These days, anyone with an internet connection can find things in five minutes, Velvet Underground recordings that wouldn’t have even been rumors twenty years ago. And that’s fantastic. Anything that smashes the kind of elitism that (used to?) cluster around record collecting is good, and music is pointless if it isn’t heard. But something does get lost, without that kind of anticipation that still surrounds shaking a record out of its sleeve for me. I still get excited, in ways I don’t by just pushing a button. Something I do more often these days.

Once, in the very early nineties, I was in a thrift store with a friend. We were looking at other things—housewares, or pulp paperbacks—and he caught my arm. Close your eyes, he said. We were right by the old vinyl section, and this was the dawn of the CD era. We’d go into Amoeba Music in Berkeley and hear the ugly clatter of plastic CD cases whacking against each other as people went through them. So I knew what he meant: he was pointing out that softer sound of cardboard sleeves being sifted in bins. Whup-whup-whup. We went outside and my friend said, That sound is growing extinct. Thank God, it isn’t yet. You just have to listen harder to hear it. You go to the right places, you close your eyes. It’s just as vivid as it ever was."

From 'That Summertime Sound'...
Morgan Freeman reads "This is Never Going to End" (Mp3)
Jeremy Irons reads "The Devil in It Somewhere" (Mp3)

TVD Gets Lucky

"Beneath the bebop moon / I want to croon with you / Beneath the Mambo Sun / I got to be the one with you. / My life's a shadowless horse / If I can't get across to you / In the alligator rain / My hearts all pain for you. / Girl you're good / And I've got wild knees for you / On a mountain range / I'm Dr. Strange for you..."

T-Rex - Mambo Sun (Mp3)
T-Rex - The Slider (Mp3)
T-Rex - Cadillac (Mp3)
T-Rex - The Street & Babe Shadow (Mp3)
T-Rex - Highway Knees (Mp3)

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

TVD First Date with | The Phenomenal Handclap Band

The Liberation Dance Party returns to DC9 this Friday night with a special live performance from NYC-based (Lower East Side, to be exact) The Phenomenal Handclap Band whose tracks we’ve been grooving to all week here at ol’ TVD HQ.

We chatted with Joan Tick from PHB earlier in the week, and she’s supplied us with perhaps the best and certainly the longest, First Date on record. (And we all know that if a first date goes long, that’s a damn good thing indeed.)

"I grew up in Las Vegas with a former musician for a father. Shortly after I was born, he quit touring, sold his bass guitar and amp, and took an entry-level job cooking at a casino in order to keep his family afloat. The only vestige to his former musical life remained in a slim stack of records neatly shelved inside his 1960s console stereo, and that hefty monster was further buried inside a closet. For years, this stack and the immaculate record player inside the console went untouched.

In the summer between sixth and seventh grade, however, my best friend and I saw the beginnings of our teenaged shenanigans. This included raiding our Parents’ belongings. Maybe it was in search of old clothes, trinkets, prizes, secrets, proof that they weren’t really what they said they were, and by default we weren’t either. This certainly included sifting through the old stereo and its records in my house.

We were amused, confused, and impressed by the covers of dozens of Beatles albums, The Doors, James Brown, Frank Zappa, The Carpenters, The Mamas and the Papas, Simon and Garfunkel, and Bread. These are the ones I remember clearly. The stumbling upon a parent’s small music canon, his vinyl files of an era gone by, is undoubtedly a common first glimpse into music for a kid, but it was in these songs, specifically that of Karen Carpenter and Mama Cass’s voice that I realized I could actually sing, that singing or dreaming up a melody of your own could invoke something more complex than joy or sadness.

Right away we memorized lyrics and began showing off the records to our friends as if we were the first two people on earth to discover The Beatles on original vinyl. On Friday and Saturday nights before we went to bed, we smoked cigarettes and drank Dr. Pepper in the dark to Side A of Simon and Garfunkel’s Sounds of Silence. From those lullabies of longing, we began to pursue lesser known music--the natural progression into the underground being punk and post-punk music--and by the end of junior high school we had acquired a preliminary collection ranging from The Jam, The Birthday Party, and Bad Brains to Bauhaus, The Cure, and The Cocteau Twins. The older and harder to find records were a lucky inheritance from a former punk rock uncle who was trying to clean up his act. His music was the first to go. Again, my friend and I were sifting through someone else’s abandoned vinyl treasures, but at least this time we knew what we had on our hands.

It was just after ninth grade at age 15, when my mother decided to move from Las Vegas to rural North Idaho. I recall throwing an absolute fit when they tried to sell his console stereo at a moving sale. It was, after all, really big, heavy as hell, and an absolute oak and mustard green eye sore to both of them. But my pleas triumphed. It took three people to load it into the moving van and three more to carry it into our new house and up the stairs into my room.

The stereo took up the entire width of the closet. At night, the bulbous knobs glowed yellow, red, and white while I thought about the bleakness of life along with its vast possibilities. In my early days of living in the rural Northwest, music was the easiest thing to focus on and I soon discovered Maximum Rocknroll and a few other zines that led me to a small record store in Spokane, WA called 4000 Holes. I would make the 45- minute drive from Idaho to Washington at least once a week with friends. The Northwest was still reeling from the start of grunge in Seattle and a lot of punk bands were coming through the smaller surrounding cities and playing in abandoned churches and all-ages shacks. The Dickies, Jawbreaker, The Dead Milkmen, among many other memorable and unmemorable hardcore bands played. If you couldn’t find a show listed somewhere, someone knew about something happening at an abandoned rec center in the woods and you¹d spend all night trying to find it.

I was probably 17 when the skinheads moved into the scene. I already lived half a mile from the Aryan Nation compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho and had avoided seeing any white supremacists in person (that I knew of). But there they were, muscle-bodied and a lot older than us punching girls in the face, knocking them unconscious, ending the shows.

I think that may have been the early start and early end to my love affair with hording vinyl for a while. Not for any other reason than it was time for something else. Over the better part of the decade, I became increasingly more intrigued by new music and fell in love with quieter bands like Yo La Tengo, and Low-- traces of which, along with those very first record findings, you can hear in my songwriting.

In New York City, I worked at a bar with a DJ named Greg Caz, who would keep me at the bar until 6am playing folk and punk favorites from my teenage years, but also a whole host of Brazilian and African music that I had never listened to. Caz can speak French, Portuguese, and Spanish--all learned from his beloved records--and he would translate lyrics from his favorite artists, many of which lived very short lives in relative obscurity across the world. The one who stole my heart was Tuca. The Brazilian songwriter’s gothic lyrics rested against an otherwise uplifting beat. She seemed painfully aware of her own mortality, the love she might not attain before perishing, and indeed she died in her twenties.

Greg was, of course, close friends with Sean and Daniel of The Phenomenal Handclap Band, which at that time had not yet taken its current shape, but was already being talked about. We all eventually met when they began looking for new members. I was intrigued by the wide-ranging songs, by how ambitious their concept was. Since his late teens, Daniel had been living in Manhattan DJing gigs, forming bands, and attending music school. Along the way he began DJing obscure soul records with Sean. Together they began producing some of their favorite music heroes like Joe Bataan and Unaio Black. Between the two of them, they had acquired a group of some of the cities best musicians (their friends) to work alongside them.

The first Phenomenal Handclap Band record was released this summer along with a limited edition 7-inch featuring "Testimony" and "15-20" through Pure Groove, a boutique record store in London. A full-length double vinyl is in the works."

The Phenomenal Handclap Band - You'll Disappear (Mp3)
The Phenomenal Handclap Band - 15 to 20 (Mp3)
The Phenomenal Handclap Band - 15 to 20 (David E Sugar 5 10 Replay Remix) (Mp3)