Friday, October 16, 2009

TVD's 1,000 Parting Shots

...the one thousand post mark (...AND some serious symptoms of carpel tunnel. Ow.)

To celebrate this slightly auspicious milestone, we’ve got six of DC’s hottest bands who’ll be up in NYC next week, gigging and partying at CMJ.

We corralled them the same way the folks at CMJ did— through their Sonicbids accounts—and all were pleased as punch to send us the low down on where they’re buying their own records from in the District o’ Columbia:

True Womanhood
We are big fans of Crooked Beat in Adams Morgan. From the extensive show fliers and bulletin boards by the door to the prime placement of local artists in their record racks, Crooked Beat makes it clear that they are invested in the DC music scene.
True Womanhood - Magic Child (Mp3)
True Womanhood - Dignitas (Mp3)
(The brand new, as in released yesterday, digital EP.)

Title Tracks
My favorite record store in the D.C.-area is Joe's Record Paradise out in Rockville. It's the largest vinyl selection by far and the prices are generally low. It's a very rare occasion for me to leave there disappointed. It's inevitable that I wind up having to put records back 'cause I've pulled so many and I'm going to wind up spending way too much if I don't rein it. A big part of what I like about the store is the variety that is found along with their depth. I've found gems in every section (rock, jazz, soul, easy listening, soundtracks, country, folk, etc.)

Middle Distance Runner
Red Onion in Adams Morgan is a favorite of ours. It's a little walk-in basement place with a lot of cool, obscure stuff but also a good selection of affordable vinyl. The staff is friendly and helpful, and they let you leave out your own free CDs to promote shows, which a lot of record stores won't let you do.
Middle Distance Runner - The Fury (Mp3)

U.S. Royalty
We love Som Records on 14th St in DC. Neal Becton has some choice selections and it's got a cool vibe there. The owner also does a Brazilian night at the bar next door and his music taste is impeccable.

These United States
Sadly now closed, my favorite record store in the DC area was Orpheus Records in Arlington - not the coolest place nor the place to find the record to impress your hip friends. Just a massive amount of pristine classic jazz and rock records and an equally knowledgeable staff. When I first moved to DC and started buying records, it was one of the few places I never left empty handed.

Our first is Joe's Record Paradise in Rockville, MD. We love it because of the number of years that its been in business (approximately 30) and it remains this hidden gem of dusty vinyls and incredible rare finds. Also, its really close to the warehouse where we rehearse and record and develop the visual aspects and samples for our show. Old vinyl is just an inspirational medium in its own right.

However, since Joe's is up in Rockville, our go to place in the District is Crooked Beat. I discovered this shop shortly after I moved back to dc in 2001, and I immediately liked its aesthetic in comparison to the neighborhood in which it resides. Adam's Morgan is lively and diverse, sure... but I like that this viable, but overlooked medium is right under the noses of masses of people who couldn't be bothered with a music format if it's not quickly accessible and downloadable. The selection is great. The atmosphere is cozy. And the staff is always on top of their game.

Bellflur - Gray Sparkle Finnish Pigs (Mp3)


Now, you’d think after traipsing through the TVD archives this week, something OTHER than vinyl, or music even, is at work here daily. Well, not so.

From the core, it all goes back to:

Ian Dury & The Blockheads - Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll (Mp3)
Mott The Hoople - The Golden Age Of Rock N' Roll (Mp3)
David Essex - Rock On (Mp3)
Death - Rock 'n Roll Victim (Mp3)
Thin Lizzy - The Rocker (Mp3)
The Vaselines - I Didn't Know I Loved You ('Til I Saw You Rock 'n' Roll) (Live) (Mp3)
Paul Collins' Beat - Rock 'n Roll Girl (Mp3)
The Kinks - A Rock 'n Roll Fantasy (Mp3)
Nick Gilder - Rockaway (Mp3)
The Replacements - Rock 'n Roll Ghost (Mp3)

TVD | 1,000

From the 'Hey, I thought this blog was about VINYL?!' file comes this last retrospective look back at previous posts as we approach 1,000 posts. (Which happens uh, later today...)

(First posted Tuesday, August 11, 2009.)

Throughout her life, my mom has been a wonderful pianist. Entirely self taught and without the ability to read music, she could listen to most pieces and in moments play it back for you almost verbatim. It’s a skill she seemingly had to pick up as her father, a violinist and concert organizer, forestalled my mother’s desire to study and participate in the classical ensembles he’d put together each weekend in the family’s home in Newark, New Jersey.

And my mother never got over it. I think she’d say her father’s grand ego and perhaps chauvinism on some level was the mitigating factor, so mom set out on her own and in the 1940’s and ‘50’s joined various USO groups and began writing music for live, staged performances to welcome soldiers home from the war and those who’d later shuffle on off to further conflicts.

I of course didn’t know my mom in this guise—her musical endeavors having been set aside to raise two kids later on. But oh, the house was full of music daily and her weekend piano performances quite literally could be heard through the neighborhood. And it seems, even up until recently at 84, she was serenading the aides who’d come in three times daily to tend to her and make her meals. I’d hear quite often, “Jon – your mother is SUCH a wonderful piano player...” I’d nod and agree as I’ve heard this all of my life. Self taught, never read music.

In her absence last week, I sat at her baby grand which has followed her throughout her entire life. It’s been well maintained and the innards have been rebuilt many times over and it still rings pitch-perfect.

There was a notebook on top of the piano that I started to flip through and the header on the very first page took me back a bit. In my mother’s oddly singular longhand, she had begun the page with “Memory Lapses.” What followed was an enumeration of things she’d forgotten—some were merely actor’s names or songwriters of popular standards or movie titles. This list grew longer and longer as it became clear she was adding to it over time.

Most surprising however was that, with exacting detail amidst cross-outs and erasures, she’d begun to transcribe all the songs she knew by memory into basic scales and keys with the accompanying lyrics. Page after page, each one marginally less focused than the last until nothing was left but empty white lined pages in her notebook.

Responsibilities we understand, the body fitfully performs.

The Kinks - Catch Me Now I'm Falling (Mp3)
The Bolshoi - Happy Boy (Mp3)
The Vapors - News At Ten (Mp3)
The Blow Monkeys - The Bullet Train (Mp3)
The Monkees - Pleasant Valley Sunday (Mp3)