Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ticket Giveaway! | Pete Yorn, Wednesday, 10/6 at Black Cat

Photo: Jim Wright

Last month we premiered the brand new single "Velcro Shoes" from Pete Yorn off his new self-titled album produced by Frank Black. Well, the Vagrant release is now available in your local record stores and on iTunes as of this past Tuesdayso this month we have a pair of tickets to award one of you for Pete's show at the Black Cat this coming Wednesday night, 10/6.

Asked about working with Pete, Mr. Black noted, "We headed down a path of realization I stripped Pete down a whole bunch. We battled in the best sort of way. I tried to get the session into a fearless and raw place, and to his artistic credit Pete took his songwriting to a fearless and raw place. This listener will find his or herself sitting right next to Pete on the couch. And the record totally rocks out."

Let us know why you should be chosen for the pair of tickets to see Pete in the comments to this post and the most convincing of the bunch will take home the tickets.

You need to act fast though—we need to close this one out tomorrow, Friday (10/1) by 5PM—and remember to leave us a contact email address with your entry. I can't tell you how many "winning" entries we get with no way of letting that person know. So—now you know—go!

Remember, we've teamed up with ReadysetDC for all of our ticket giveaways so you can enter to win either here at TVD or at ReadysetDC.

Pete Yorn - Precious Stone (Mp3)

Pete Yorn - Velcro Shoes (Mp3)
Approved for download!

TVD Takeover | The Posies

It's The Posies' TVD Takeover Day #4 - and Jon's back with more:

Why Audiophiles Don’t Like Rod Stewart
Or: “How My Father Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Mod”
I don’t want to come across as overly sentimental, but I’ve always considered myself lucky to grow up in a musical household. At the age of three I decided I wanted to play the drums and my parents actually bought them for me thus eventually having to tolerate what I can only imagine were brain salad days of (no pun intended) relative torture as our house was filled with my disruptive (yet metronomically correct I am told) drum fills. Yes, mine were the supportive kind of caretakers, so committed to the progressive growth of the child that when I eagerly pointed to the shinny mini drum set I wanted at the local toy store, they refused and said that no son of theirs was going to have a half-assed approximation of my heart’s desire. NO, DAMMIT - they were going to buy me a real drum set, not (again no pun intended) beat around the bush with some cheap infantile facsimile. And you know what? They did…

I became the only three-year old that I knew of on my block with a real certifiable Rogers drum set. Granted - a small, second-hand three-piece with a pot lid the weight of a shot put for one of the cymbals, but a bona fide Rogers nonetheless. Even at the age of three HELL YES was all I could think of in my formative little head. I was blessed.

Many instruments followed, perhaps more civilized, certainly less house-rattling: violin from age four to eight and then to my real love, guitar, at the age of nine. I’ll have to say that at every step of the way, I was encouraged to embrace quality in music and in whatever musical ‘delivery device’ was put into my hands. My father in particular was a real inspiration, an excellent guitarist in his own right and a faithful supplier of resources and knowledge. It was he who eventually put a small but powerful recording studio in the rec room of the house I spent my teenage years in, years before home recording became easy and common, the house that The Posies made our first record in engineered by myself after a few years of learning the sonic ropes the old fashioned way: a little something called the “hand-me-down method.”

If you haven’t suspected it by now, my father is indeed the audiophile I’ve been slowly steering this tale of yesteryear towards. He was the man of a thousand records, the man with the primo Techniques turntable suspended from the ceiling on a platform so none of the vibrations from the family feet would disturb our listening experience. I loved his collection of music and garnered much in the way of eventual inspiration for my own music, but I’d be lying if his high standards weren’t a bit of a double edge sword. Like, say, when I’d haul one of his prize records into my bedroom to play on the little kiddie stereo and he’d come in and let me know in no uncertain terms that I was not to play his records on my stereo as the inferior needle would ruin the grooves. Oh the irony now - it makes sense to me these days….in fact I pretty much feel the same way about my records as he did. But back in the day it just didn’t compute.

Speaking of things not computing, during grade three, I came home from school one day and announced to my father that “Do You Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart was my favorite song and I simply had to have my own copy of it NOW. I can honestly say I don’t think there’s ever been another point in history I can recall seeing such a look of puzzled terror from the normally tolerant elder Auer. What my father quickly ascertained was that a) The real reason I had to have the desired vinyl was because of a girl in my class I was completely crushed out on and b) I had never heard the song before in my life. Long story short, instead of buying me the record (he being the man of high standards), he opted for a more educational solution and drove me with haste to our favorite local pizza parlor. There, over Canadian bacon and pineapple, my father begrudgingly played “Do You Think I’m Sexy” on the jukebox, cringing as we sat there, followed by a table discussion of the song, the lyrics, and my take on the whole confounding situation.

Now, of course, I realize he was just trying to save me from the evils of Disco-era Rod Stewart, but at the time all I gave a toss about was that the girl I was sure I would love forever at the age of eight would see me walk down the hall with a copy of ex-“Rod the Mod”s’ latest under my arm and feel the same way I felt about her unequivocally. I think my father finally figured it out, that I was hell bent on aiming to impress, that it was a harmless detour on the rites road to passage. Sex or Disco had nothing to do with it – although eventually I came to appreciate both. At the time in question I could have cared less. It was a terminal case of playground love, pure and simple.

TVD Recommends | We Fought The Big One, Friday (10/1) at Marx Cafe

Our love runneth over for Rick Taylor and Brandon Grover's post-punk DJ night, We Fought The Big One that hits Marx Cafe the first Friday night of each month. Tomorrow night Rick and Brandon will be joined by a friend of this blog, Josh Harkavy of Red Onion Records. Rick's got the details:

About this whole Year Zero thingy…

Was 1977 really the start of a new musical movement that led to everything we know today as modern alternative/independent music? Certainly, one could argue that the shockwaves brought about by The Sex Pistols marked the single biggest tectonic shift in music since Elvis. It wasn’t just punk or post-punk that happened either; it was something broader—a new way of thinking about how to make music. No longer did one have to be a skilled musician to get signed and put a record out. The record making process itself was also demystified—not only could anyone play the guitar, anyone could start their own label and find cheap equipment to record with. As the legendary and era-defining DIY band Desperate Bicycles boldy proclaimed in 1977: “It was easy. It was cheap. Go and do it.” And the reality is that just about every disaffected British kid with an arty inclination did.

But, but, but…I have to take issue with this strict interpretation of 1977-as-Year Zero. The notion that everything before that most critical of musical years can be dismissed as inconsequential, middle-of-the-road, AOR dross doesn’t hold up to close scrutiny. Firstly and most obviously, you had seminal bands such as Velvet Underground, The Stooges, Roxy Music and New York Dolls clearly pointing the way forward. Another key band that existed prior to 1977 was The Modern Lovers. Now, a lot of times you’ll see these bands lumped under the “proto-punk” category…the implication being that they not only existed prior to the “proper” punk era, but that their music was a “not-quite-there-yet” embryonic version of the more fully developed sounds that would come later.

This is not the case with The Modern Lovers 1972 demo of “She Cracked.” This particular recording of the song (an earlier, more raw and tension-filled, dare I say it—superior version than what would eventually appear on the band’s lone self-titled compendium-as-album) is a note perfect realization of all the power and possibility the post-punk movement would come to offer. Listen to that guitar—those jagged edges stab like the kind of vicious wooden splinters that leave blood on your fingers. And Jonathan Richman’s non-chalant, too-cool-to-be-bothered vocals would be the template, whether intentional or not, for countless indie rock bands to come whose members hadn’t even been born yet. Top it all off with an irresistible earworm of a hook, some wonderful WTF? sound experiments during the middle 8 section and the band’s undeniable conviction, and you have a 24 karat slice of post-punk perfection…only, several years before post-punk happened---and yes, still a few years before Johnny Rotten called the Queen of England a fascist. It’s no wonder the track has aged so gracefully.

There’s actually a broader point that I’d like to make outside of just questioning the soundness of the Year Zero philosophy. And that is simply this: there are oodles of amazing records out there that either fell through the cracks or have been unjustly forgotten about that are just waiting to be discovered or re-discovered by hungry music fans with a curious ear. I’m inclined to think a lot of Vinyl District readers agree with me, based on the continued success of the DC Record Fair, which just marked another triumph this past weekend at the U Street Music Hall.

I also want you to be aware, if you weren’t already, that our nation’s capitol has a monthly dj night dedicated to celebrating these inspired post-punk sounds of the past: We Fought the Big One. As one of the djs, I can tell you the idea for the night was to host a music listening party heavily anchored around the sounds of the late 70s/early 80s post-punk scene: bands such as Gang of Four, Wire, Joy Division and PIL, along with contemporary DIY heroes (think Deerhunter, Wild Nothing, Vivian Girls) and loads of obscure gems too.

This Friday night, We Fought the Big One will be featuring a long-time friend of the Vinyl District, Josh Harkavy, owner of Red Onion Records and Books, one of DC’s best places to shop for vinyl. Josh has also been instrumental in making the DC Record Fair the success it continues to be. So come by the Marx this Friday night, enjoy some tasty Belgian beers, meet other music fans and revel in the world of post-punk weirdness and DIY brilliance!

More info:
Fri. Oct. 1


w/ guest dj Josh Harkavy


3203 Mt. Pleasant St. NW

Washington DC 20010

10pm - 3am


Facebook info:!/event.php?eid=155517691135955&index=1

(RSVP if you can!)

TVD's Obscure Alternatives

It's week #3 our semi-new Thursday fix, culled from the rare and (ultra) obscure crates of 80’s vinyl, curated by our pal Gil:


This week I dabble into the genre of synth pop. It is an off shoot of new wave in which the synthesizer or keyboard plays a much more dominant role in the overall song production. Synth pop was very popular in the early to mid 80’s alternative music scenes and has recently experienced a resurgence in the late 2000s. There are a variety of modern bands that have synth pop influences.

Dial M was a Los Angeles, CA based synth pop duo consisting of Mike Kapitan (synthesizers, drums, lead vocals) and Mark M. (electric guitars, backing vocals). The band was formed in 1982 and remained active until 1984. Upon the band’s demise, Mike Kapitan would go on to work with Thomas Dolby and his backing band, The Lost Toy People. Dial M produced two records during their time together. Their lone full length effort, which I am featuring here is a self titled effort and was released by independent Hollywood label D & D Records.

The album consists of ten songs that are chock full of melancholic synth pop vibes. Although this duo didn’t receive the popularity that there more commercial peers were afforded back in the day, they did garner limited radio air play on the venerable alternative radio station KROQ and even produced a video for their main single – Modern Day Love. The video has been embedded below for your viewing enjoyment. It’s a highly recommended, not so mainstream 80’s album for this once again popular genre of music.

DIAL M - In This World (Mp3)
DIAL M - Laughing On The Moon (Mp3)
DIAL M - Modern Day Love (Mp3)

For more obscure and unknown titles, check out Vinyl Obscurity.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TVD Takeover | The Posies' 'BLOOD/CANDY' Vinyl Giveaway

As I mentioned on Monday, we’re delighted to have The Posies here with us all week blogging away mercilessly—especially since this week is the release week for the eagerly anticipated new LP, BLOOD/CANDY. (Officially on store shelves September 28th.)

Those of you who follow us with rapt attention know that for every ‘takeover’ week here at TVD, we’ve got a contest running in tandem – and this week’s can't be any more obvious.

We’ve got two copies of the aforementioned BLOOD/CANDY on vinyl to ship out to two winners in exchange for your comment to this post. Pen your Posies-related missive to us and the band in the aptly named Comments Box and the two that strike the perfect chord will each have the new LP shipped off to him or her.

We’ll choose both winners this coming Friday (10/1) and remember to leave us a contact email address, ok?

The Posies - Licenses to Hide (Mp3)
Approved for download!

Ticket Giveaway! | Mariage Blanc, Friday (10/1) at Velvet Lounge

I'm rarely afforded the opportunity to see live music these days. It simply ain't happening—despite the number of tickets we give away to shows here at TVD, which—all blessing and a curse-like—keeps me most evenings glued to the Mac. Right, right - there are exceptions but normally the concerns are for your evening plans.

But I did have the opportunity to catch Pittsburgh, PA's Mariage Blanc last summer on a four-way bill we promoted that week and with having heard just one track, the joyous 'Whatever You Say I Am,' (very Pernice Brothers) I was taken with the band immediately, chatted them up, told 'em they needed to get back on the blog—and that moment's here in the form of a pair of tickets to Friday's show at Velvet Lounge with Foreign Press and Janel and Anthony.

You've got 48 hours to win this pair by telling us in the comments to this post, what band you saw live for the very first time that simply blew you away. Should be easy, right?

We'll choose our winner at noon on Friday, 10/1 and remember to leave us a contact email address with your insightful entry.

Remember, we've teamed up with ReadysetDC for all of our ticket giveaways so you can enter to win either here at TVD or at ReadysetDC.

Mariage Blanc - Whatever You Say I Am (Mp3)
Mariage Blanc - Move On (Mp3)
Approved for download!

TVD Takeover | The Posies

It's Day #3 of The Posies' Vinyl District Takeover and Jon Auer checks in from Spain:

Happy Birthday To Me, Spanish Style
Ok…(deep breath)

Right from the start I’ll have to admit his isn’t going to be what I intended to submit for my first entry to The Vinyl District. Indeed, I’ll confess to loftier goals and more complex aspirations, that I was psyched to be asked to contribute to TVD this week…really. And then…. well….Como se dice? Let’s put it this way: Life may indeed be what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans but you’d think I might’ve respected the good ole’ laws of physics a bit more in this particular case. Read: time travel doesn’t exist as far as my currently hung-over brain is aware, though I do believe I tried to go back in time in my dreams last night and compose a blog entry “for the ages”, a real stunner …something even Anthony Bourdain would be jealous of. Naturally, in my alpha state, I’d just about completed my blogosphere “masterpiece” when the wake up call from the extremely grumpy Spaniard working the front desk came, just in time to watch my dream dissolve. Apparently he didn’t like having to get out of bed at sunrise any more than I did. Thanks, hombre…

But I digress. Let’s just say three parts travel from the US to Spain plus three parts first show of The Posies’ European tour last night divided by six parts procrastination multiplied by my birthday equals yours truly furiously typing in a hotel room in Murcia scant hours before my deadline, thanking heavens for time zones. So, in lieu of a more fruitful course of action, to paraphrase Milli Vanilli, I’m going to cut myself a little slack on my special day and “Blame It On The Spain.”

How lucky is it for me that the Spanish just happen love vinyl? Very. Adding it up, I’ve averaged at least two visits a year to this impassioned land since 1993 and almost everywhere you can think of going you’re bound to find amazing rock and roll bars playing a majority of vinyl from dusk until dawn and in most cases even dawn the next day. Some of the best times I’ve had here have been taking turns with DJs playing great music until no one in the room can lift a glass, keep an eye open, or hear anymore….even on a Sunday, like at a place in Yecla I played solo in 1999 called The Happy House and ESPECIALLY on a Monday like at the superlative bar Louie Louie in Madrid, a place everyone who loves rock and roll should experience at least twice. I still have a stack of 45s, including the original “Black is Black” by Los Bravos, given to me there one epic evening by the legendary Spanish musician/promoter Kike Turmix, a man who was larger than life in many ways. That’s the kind of thing that happened at Louie Louie and I feel fortunate to have shared those moments with him.

Back to the moment at hand, I suppose I’m also lucky I’m not the only person in Spain right now who didn’t deliver what they’d intended. My birthday came at the stroke of midnight during our sold out show at Murcia’s own Sala Stereo last night and before the clock chimed twelve, September 28th was the worldwide release day of BLOOD/CANDY, the new Posies album, a record we just happened to make a large portion of in Spain earlier this year. The show was amazing but regrettably, even though much planning had gone into the imminent delivery of our latest on both CD and vinyl, the proverbial snafu occurred and a few hundred Spanish Posies fan weren’t able to buy our new record from us on the day of its release. Ouch. But hey – at least they wanted to, right?

Blame it on the Spain.

TVD Takeover | The Posies

Last April, in our run-up to Record Store Day, we spent several weeks with several record labels. One was Ardent Records, the offshoot label from our friends at Ardent Studios. Sadly, the timing was less than fortunate. Just a few weeks prior we lost Alex Chilton and with some last minute switches, we were able to include some well-penned tributes to the late Big Star singer who recorded those timeless, transcendent LPs within Ardent's walls.

We thought we'd revisit Ken's thoughts on Alex this morning in tandem with The Posies Vinyl District takeover.

When I was just starting out in my band The Posies, the first band I had that made records and toured, etcetera, back in 1988, we were introduced to the music of Big Star. People heard our early music and assumed, correctly, that we'd find the pure harmonies, heartbreaking sentiment, and mix of rock power and Byrds-like jangling bliss a great inspiration and sympathetic vibration to our own music. It was something of a revelation, one that has probably confounded thousands of listeners when they discover these records for the first time, "How could this band not have been hugely popular?”

And that, my friends, is where the dichotomy began.

Before Big Star, if the critics loved it, if it was quality, word got around, and artists who were influential artistically, like The Doors, Jimi Hendrix, the fucking Beatles, for fuck's sake, sold millions. There was crap too, also selling millions. The only band that didn't sell was The Shaggs.

Big Star was not part of a rebellion, like the punks would be soon after. They were a hot band in Memphis, with great songs, and a huge music machine (CBS) behind them. And they failed, spectacularly. It was a tree falling in the woods though - nobody knew the band, so no one knew what they were missing. But so began the idea that there were two worlds in music - the crapmosphere of the latest pop idols, and the quality control layer that was just for those in the know. Suddenly, the idea prevailed that the better a band was - the less likely it was to sell. And in fact, the ability to turn away listeners was a sign of quality. In many ways I agree. In many ways, Big Star has nothing to do with this argument.

I digress. Big Star became heroes because they satisfied every test for quality you could apply, but also they were the ultimate underdogs, a symbol of the unjust whims of popular taste. Something was wrong with the system and here was the proof. The star factory couldn't even makes stars out of Big Star.

I knew Alex first through this context and through his music. We were fans - fans enough to consider taking our first big budget from Geffen Records and spending it at Ardent Studios in Memphis where all of Big Star's albums (and albums we loved by the Replacements, REM, Led Zep, ZZ Top) were made. We eventually decided to stay in Seattle, but via his position as the company's A&R/PR/business gettin' guy, Big Star's Jody Stephens became a fan, a friend, and a friendly familiar face when we were at events like CMJ, South by Southwest, etc.

When some college kids from Missouri threw the dice and had the boldness to inquire if Big Star would reunite for their spring concert...and Alex said yes, Jody called us to fill in the missing posts formerly held by the late Chris Bell and the retired-from-music Andy Hummel. Our first rehearsal in Seattle was where we met Alex for the first time. At first a bit of a cipher, or perhaps a sphinx, he kept his words spare. But even in those first rehearsal days we were talking about Dostoevsky... and it seemed Alex wasn't like other musicians we had played with - more interested in their bongs or their thinly-supported intellectual aspirations, if not practices. Alex was disciplined, and curious, a formidable combo.

But Alex was more than a great intellect (he was widely read, widely interested, willing and able to discuss at length virtually any subject except Big Star). He was charming, challenging, spontaneous and generous. He proposed after a short time of Jon & me playing with Big Star that our contributions merited equal pay. He drove me around Memphis pointing out the housing project where Elvis had lived at one point. We played tennis and had dinners together in his frequent visits to Paris. He introduced me to the music of Faron Young, Rodd Keith, and more. Though he had a reputation for being difficult, the Alex that I have tour managed for the last decade has been the Alex of, “Yeah, cool...whatever. No problem.”

He didn't do interviews. He didn't have email. You had to call him to ask him a question. Isn't that more sociable? I think he thought so. And it is for that sociability, as well as that integrity, that stand out among the many things I will miss about Alex.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Ticket Giveaway! | Dear New Orleans - A Benefit Concert, Monday (10/4) at the Black Cat

To celebrate the 10th anniversary Future of Music Policy Summit (taking place at Georgetown University from Oct 3-5), The Future of Music Coalition (FMC) and Air Traffic Control (ATC) have just announced an all-star benefit concert on October 4th at the Black Cat.

‘Dear New Orleans - A Benefit Concert’ showcases several of the artists who contributed to the critically-acclaimed compilation, Dear New Orleans. The concert will feature one-of-a-kind collaborations between Damian Kulash of OK Go, Hank Shocklee from Public Enemy, Jonny 5 of Flobots and the Wonderlicks, Jenny Toomey & Franklin Bruno, to name a few.

The benefit album was produced by ATC to mark the fifth anniversary of Katrina and the floods. Since Hurricane Katrina, a diverse group of musicians have headed to the cradle of American music to participate in a series of artist-activist retreats produced by FMC and ATC and to learn firsthand about efforts to rebuild and sustain this vital city and its music communities. Proceeds from the album and concert benefit nonprofits working to support the region's unique musical and cultural traditions, and to restore and protect crucial environment and community resources.

'Dear New Orleans,' the album, can be downloaded here.

TVD is pleased to be offering one pair of tickets to the benefit concert to the reader who strikes the right note to this question: What does New Orleans mean to you?

Spill it in the comments to this post—with a contact email address!—and we'll choose one winner this Friday, 10/1.

Tickets to the benefit are $20. There are also a limited number of VIP ticket options. Full details here.

Remember, we've teamed up with ReadysetDC for all of our ticket giveaways so you can enter to win either here at TVD or at ReadysetDC.

TVD Takeover | The Posies

Right. That's not the actual Gary & the Hornets 45 that Ken gets into below. But pretty sweet looking, hm? (Courtesy of So Many Records, So Little Time.)

It's day #2 of The Posies Vinyl District Takeover...

Fuck iTunes.
I paid the most I have ever paid, via an ad in Goldmine, for one single. TWO SONGS. $40. I didn’t use the internet, I mailed a fucking check and got the thing. Why? Because I’d played a cover of a song called ‘Patty Girl’ by an Ohio group called Gary & the Hornets with Alex Chilton, who had heard about the song from Teenage Fanclub, who had heard about the song from Calvin Johnson. And I had to hear the original.

The story was too good: Gary & the Hornets were three kids—age 9, 11, & 12—who had a record deal and did these amazing, beat group-era songs, maybe just a little too sweet for the consciousness-bending preamble to the Summer of Love, so they didn’t have too long to enjoy the spotlight before looking quaint. ‘Patty Girl’ is not on iTunes. The band never released any album that I can find, so there’s no CD reissue. Basically, except for this 45 and some youtube videos, this music is extinct. And what a crime! Two and half minutes of chimey, glorious 60's pop, with a chorus that defies the laws of gravity in terms of melody—it was shocking to hear Alex pick off the high notes with such ease—we played it the last time that Alex and I played together, in Brooklyn last year.

So, now, iTunes saving grace: As a kid, I dutifully picked up Robert Plant’s solo music after the demise of Led Zeppelin, and was somewhat nonplussed by the mellow, unfocused and puzzling ‘Big Log’ 45 that I surely got at a drugstore or something. But, as one did, I flipped it over and found another enigmatic title—'Far Post', a non-album B side and a far more interesting piece of music. The recording sounded so deluxe back in the day and now I can hear it’s possibly a really well recorded live take; just one guitar, bass, drums, piano and voice.

The song is fast, but dreamy too—it seems to be about the tug between regret and letting go over a lost love—or something. It’s pretty haunting, and was a good soundtrack for the intangibles of fog and mist and early sunsets that were part of life in Bellingham c. 1982. Blazing piano solo, stereo chorus/modulating slapback delay on everything, awesome. And you know what? It’s on iTunes. A B-side. I bought it recently, and was happy not to have to dig thru my storage space 9,000 miles from my home to look for it.

Just a thought here: we were all told when we signed our record deals in the late 80's that due to the excessive packaging costs of the CD vs. the LP, that our royalty rate for CD's would be significantly lower than for LPs. And guess what? The LP's were a fraction of sales shortly thereafter. Duped. I think an LP is roughly twice as expensive to make and package as a CD now.

Along comes iTunes and offers even LOWER rates for selling something that DOESN’T EVEN EXIST. It’s not like there’s a factory banging out all those files. You upload your master, and you’re allowed to make a copy and store that somewhere. It’s like charging more for a bunch of photo copies than for a book. So, now, that I reach the end of this paragraph, I’m mad again and can say fuck you, iTunes.

TVD's Sunday Hangover | Virgin Festival at Merriweather Post Recap

Virgin Festival
at Merriweather is what I imagine my heaven to be like. The day was a dusty journey through an indie wonderland with all of my favorite artists at every destination. Scattered between the three music stages was a psychedelic array all of the delightful things in life: a giant ferris wheel, fire-works, karma bars (with booze and delicious food), random teepees with (!!!) free massages inside, giant beds for randomly napping, dj tents spinning tunes ranging from Billy Jean to Aloe Baac. UMM. HEAVEN. I happily stumbled across old friends, danced with current friends and made a few new friends.

For me, the day started at the Dance Forest where I unfortunately missed hometown DJ, Will Eastman, but made it in time to catch Pitchfork favorite, Neon Indian. Likely you know the ‘chill-wave’ pioneers by now (first LP, Psychic Chasms, was released just this time last year), but if not then perhaps you recognize them from their recent Apple appearance. 22 year-old Alan Palomo is the virtuoso behind the electronic sound, expertly crafting sound that immediately shifts your mindframe into some sort of 70’s sci-fi digital existence. His music is like a video game on acid.

“Deadbeat Summer” was easily the most popular track of the set, and fell between both new and old tunes including “Local Joke”, “Mind, Drips”, “Don’t Sleep” and a very-crucial version of “Should Have Taken Acid With You” (soooo good). Transitions between songs were frequently filled with Palomo’s own experimental-sound melding; where he was able to show off his innate musical palate by turning noise into paralyzing sound. With the set starting at 3:45 and the festival buzz just kicking in for most, this was a perfect way to leap into the euphoric afternoon and the procession of amazing sets to follow.

Although Yeasayer overlapped directly with NI, I heard several reports that the Baltimore based indie-band definitely did not disappoint. Other local favorite’s, Thievery Corporation, took the West Stage afterward giving me a brief second to chill-out to the familiar and tranquil beats, soaking-up the zen before trying to jump from stage to stage in the next few hours.

If you are a fan of Pavement then you already know that this set was inexplicably great. Cult legends in the the indie-music genre, and just recently starting to play shows again after a 10-year hiatus. Pavement’s under-attended show on the main pavilion stage seemed to echo their niche in the popular music scene of the 90’s; underappreciated but ultimately proving to be good news for those fans that are lucky enough to love them. Stephen Malkmus’ unmistakable voice undoubtedly gave all of use indie-nerds a bit of a… umm…. well, you know.

Although the main-stage generally houses the ‘headliners,’ it seemed that many of the festival-goers flocked to the West Stage for bands such as Ludacris and M.I.A. This, in turn, allowed the VIP ticket-holders a chance to get to see Pavement and LCD Soundsystem surprisingly up-close and personal. VIP tickets were clearly the way to go for those of us who were interested in these acts (thank you indie gods!) and I was able to sit only a couple rows back in the center of the seated pavilion with an AMAZING view and very minimal elbow jabs.

Trying to get remotely close to the West Stage for M.I.A. would have been nearly impossible without staking a spot far before the dissident diva took the mic. If you were one of those dedicated to the mission, you got a chance to see MIA in all her badass glory, dark wild hair flowing, rockin gold shades and eventually shedding a gold jacket to reveal a metallic mini-dress. With vibrant dancers adorning the stage and a sea of devoted fans, MIA has clearly become a superstar.

The night ended perfectly with LCD Soundsystem’s mind-blowing performance. As a huge LCD fan and never having had a chance to catch the band in real-life, I was completely captivated by the live show and despite my near exhaustion, danced recklessly for the entire hour-long set. Starting with “Dance Yrself Clean,” James Murphy, dressed simply in a flannel and jeans, unassumingly screamed all of his electro-classics to the elated crowd. Backed by Hot Chip bassist Al Doyle (!!!) and the rest of his dynamic team, Murphy effortlessly delivered hit after hit until finally ending with an encore of “Losing My Edge” and “Home” (love). Murphy had the pavilion bursting with an uncommon energy, reminding us all what it is that we love about music.

All in all, the Virgin Free Fest this year was exceptional, and the day couldn't have proved to be more perfect. Much love to Richard Branson, the virgin founder and philanthropist, for putting on this Free Festival to help fight youth homelessness. And thanks to all of the artists, and definitely the I.M.P. staff at Merriweather who were all really awesome.

Big shoutout to my sister CARA for providing these fine pics.

TVD's Twitter Music Monday

(Originally posted on 8/11/10)

This is truly world-stopping news: One’s taste in music is linked to one’s personality. It is a fact of science, according to Professor Adrian North of Heriot-Watt University, who undertook a large study examining the relationship between taste in music and personality traits.

BBC News reported on this study here, and you should read the article if only for the description of heavy metal fans as “quite delicate things,” who are neither “suicidally depressed” nor “a danger to themselves and society in general.” Phew!

The article also presents a handy rubric of musical tastes and their corresponding personality traits. I thought it might be fun to look through some #musicmonday tweets and find ones that exemplify these important findings.

First up: Indie. According to the study, people who listen to indie have low self esteem, an abundance of creativity, do not work hard, and are not gentle. (Excuse me, I have to go throw my Vampire Weekend albums into a bonfire now.)

What luck! The first indie #musicmonday message I’ve come across is by Twitter user @party_sloth. Sloth! This is too easy. Partying is often a pretty creative activity, especially if, like mine, your parties involve a lot of Pictionary. And partying is certainly never gentle. @party_sloth tweets that he is “addicted to Menomena – Mines right now.” Addiction is generally contra-indicative of self-confidence, so there you have it. With one tweet and one user name, we see the truth behind Professor North’s study.

Let’s move on to “chart pop” next. Twitter user @bellavalentine2 wants her followers to listen to Eminem and Rihanna’s “Love the Way You Lie,” and adds that “Boys should never, NEVER hit girls.” (No snark: Endorsed. Maybe not the song, I haven’t heard it because I am not, apparently, a “chart pop.”)

The music/personality study says that chart pops have high self esteem, are not creative, are hardworking, outgoing, gentle, and not at ease. Based exclusively on one tweet and a username, I’d say we have conclusive proof that all chart pops are as the study describes. Bellavalentine clearly thinks she’s hot stuff, or she wouldn’t call herself “Bellavalentine,” no? And the “2” at the end indicates someone else had that username first, so there’s your lack of creativity. Her tweet suggests that she is working hard to push her gentle message, and is doing so in an outgoing way. And she’s tweeting about something she doesn’t like in the world, so she’s clearly not at ease. Professor North has done it again!

I think one more tweet from one more genre should provide conclusive evidence that North’s findings are correct. How about the “gentle creatures” listening to rock/heavy metal? (I’d do opera, but not many Twitter folk are #musicmonday-ing the Magic Flute, believe it or not.) Rockers, according to the study, are characterized more by what they don’t have than by what they do: low self-esteem, not hard-working, and not outgoing are hallmarks of the heavy metal type. But they are also creative, gentle, and at ease. They’re manatees, basically, is what this study is saying.

Twitter user @BLOODTREES certainly seems to fit the type! First of all, his username is in all caps, which suggests a low-self esteem need to assert himself. BLOODTREES recommends “Putrid Blood (Thrash Metal from Serbia) #metalmonday #musicmonday #metal.” I appreciate the extra hashtags—I would never have guessed that Putrid Blood was in any way a metal song without them. She’s tweeting instead of working, so she must have a poor work ethic, and Twitter is inherently not an outgoing activity. The pieces are certainly falling into place. She’s listening to music from Serbia, which is definitely creative, unless of course she is from Serbia. Blood is associated with menstruation, and menstruation is a feminine, and therefore gentle, trait, so the repeated use of the word “blood” seems to indicate a gentle spirit. As for at ease: Her username has the word “trees,” which reminds me of hammocks, and everyone knows that lying in a hammock is a great way to feel at ease.

Thus proved! Hooray science!

Role #mmodel: @EricGM, describing my Thursday and Friday: “Bouncing Souls ‘Anchors Aweigh’ and ‘Ghosts on the Boardwalk.’ Gaslight Anthem ‘American Slang.’ #musicmonday,” If you’re nice, I’ll tell you about my Gaslight Anthem concert experience.

My #musicmonday pick: Sometimes I’m a manatee and listen to metal. Today: Sin Dios’s Alerta Antifascista. (h/t to the brilliant, profane No Gods No Vegetables for this band and, honestly, any metal I find my manatee brain enjoying.)

Follow Allyson on Twitter | Check out her blog

Monday, September 27, 2010

TVD Takeover | The Posies

Things seem to be manifesting themselves in odd arcs for me recently. For example, last Friday afternoon I was invited to do a short spot on local TV—NewsChannel 8/TBD Network for those of you in DC (which was bizarre as you can imagine) to promote yesterday’s DC Record Fair. I was asked to bring a few diverse records to hold up and chatter through, and in a calculated arc I brought the first record I ever purchased with my own dinero at the Two Guys in Neptune, NJ with my dear ol’ dad. Seemed like a karmic, completed circle at the time.

In addition, if you had asked me way back when at the inception of this time suck – er, blog – what I’d aspire to, it’d be having my absolute favorite bands chiming in about the music they dig and revealing the ins and outs of their own record collections. Big goals set, you’d think.

Well, allow me to present another of those karmic, completed circles:

This week The Posies release their first LP in seven years, the simply stellar BLOOD/CANDY (which you’ll have a chance to win later today) and in full 360-degree mode for us at TVD, they’ll be with us all week discussing the ins and outs of their own record collections.

All this week, it’s The Posies’ Vinyl District—and Ken Stringfellow kicks us off...

The Hobbit. On Vinyl.
We had a few good record stores growing up in the small city of Bellingham, WA. I moved there with my mom in 1978, and it was there that I started to choose my own records, as opposed to just listening to my parents’ collection or accepting the children’s records they bought me. I went into a pretty cool record store in downtown Bellingham with my mom, and asked the guy behind the counter about a soundtrack album to a movie I’d seen. Yep, it was the Rankin-Bass animated film of The Hobbit, and it came in a multi-LP box that had not only the songs from the movie (“the greatest what lies aheaaaaad”) but dialogue etc.

People had their heads down in the crates, flipping thru titles of Jethro Tull and Donna Summer. The guy behind the counter shouted out to a colleague “man, this kid wants, like, the Hobbit Soundtrack—do we even HAVE that?” All heads in the shop in unison raise up and turn, smirks emerge. Yes, I am the fat kid with glasses who wants to listen to Hobbit music instead of Houses of the Holy.

I immediately detect that I have crossed over into a magical kingdom called LOSER LAND. But I stuck to my guns and walked out with the thing, but still, like, completely ashamed. Even my mom was affected—somehow my subsequent trips to the record store were done alone and with pocket money. I’d get on the bus, go downtown, and come back with precious cardboard squares that had seductive, black discs inside, all importantly sheathed in plastic (if you bought the Japanese imports) so it was like, “should I be opening this in a clean room?” or at least paper, like...this was an Important Cultural Artifact.

ELO’s disco masterpiece Discovery was the first purchase I made with my own will and my own money combined. It was rock, of a sort. I had left behind the comfortable colors and shapes of childhood, and was piloting a course into darker waters—soon burning Zeppelins, the withered hand on “Plastic Surgery Disasters,” the wail of “Zen Arcade,” etc. would be the portholes thru which I could look beyond the confines of a small town and imagine what kind of weird, fantastical possibilities might be out there.

TVD's Press Play

It's our weekly Twitter #MusicMonday recap of the tracks from last week that the folks in the press offices and PR firms want you to be hearing. We postyou decide.

Pigeon John - Before We're Gone (Mp3)

Emil & Friends - Short Order Cooks (Mp3)
Vincent Minor - Heavy Metal Lover (Mp3)
Kelli Scarr - Break Up (Mp3)
Dive Index - Love Like Ghosts (Mp3)
Lovers - Don't You Want It (Mp3)
Motorifik - Secret Things (Mp3)
Nina Simone - I Put A Spell On U (MiM0SA Remix) (Mp3)
Parlovr - Hell Heaven (Mp3)
Gigi - Shemum Mune (Mp3)
Sub Swara - Bend You (Mp3)
The Wagner Logic - Years From Now (Mp3)
Tony Castles - Black Girls in Dresses (Mp3)
Trumans Water - We Fish (Mp3)
Shit Robot - Tuff Enough (Radio Edit) (Mp3)
Warm Ghost - Open The Wormhole In Your Heart (Mp3)
All approved for download!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

TODAY! | The DC Record Fair Returns to U Street Music Hall, 11-5!

Som Records, DC Soul Recordings, and The Vinyl District are happy to announce the return of the sixth Washington, DC Record Fair on Sunday, September 26th, at U Street Music Hall.

More than 20 record dealers from up and down the east coast will be present, plus Guest DJs Sam “The Man” Burns, John Davis (Title Tracks), Larry Grogan (Funky16Corners), Matty Taylor (Tennis System), Ryan Walker (Beanstalk Library) and David Malitz (The Cheniers) on the U-Hall decks.

Also—for the very first time—we'll have turntables on site for purchase.

The day kicks off at 11AM with a with a special $5 “early bird” hour and continues from noon to 5PM at our regular entry fee of $2. U Hall’s full menu will be available and full bar for those 21+.

Download the high-res poster here and feel free to repost it any place you wish.

Follow the DC Record Fair on Twitter for all the latest updates as they come together!

Friday, September 24, 2010

TVD's Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from New York City!

This week I’ve been visiting my home town, New York City. Walking the streets these past few Indian summer days gave me time to reflect on this week’s Idelic Hour muse, The Big Apple. This city will always be at the core of my musical make up. What keeps coming to mind is just how much the town has changed while still staying the same.

Yesterday I had a New York Day. Getting off the shuttle at Times Square I ran into Cliff, an old friend from my schoolyards delinquent days. We embraced and laughed about growing old. It’s been 35 years since we were kids jumping turnstyles. I got off at Penn Station sitting below Madison Square Garden, the building that houses many of the greatest rock shows I’ve ever seen.

I will never forget that feeling when I realized I was in the same room as The Rolling Stones playing Honky Tonk Woman! Headed west for lunch with my sister then downtown to 23nd street where I took in an exhibit of photos of Max’s Kansas City. Max’s was the 1st club I ever fell into. With these images stuck in my head I walked over the new High Line and strolled downtown carrying a state of mind I liken to this City, unchanged.

The Big Apple dig it is on this week’s Idelic Hour.

The Idelic Hit of the Week:
The Record Summer - An Enormous Anger Grows in Brooklyn (Mp3)

xosidealer | @sidelic