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.