Monday, December 20, 2010

TVD's 2010 | A few of our favorite things...

Had you asked me way back in 2007 at this blog's inception who I'd hope to have on TVD in any capacity, The Posies would have been one of the first few names cited. I've been that type of fan since 'Dear 23.'

So it was quite special indeed to have Jon and Ken blogging away last last summer at the release week for the new(ish) and spectacularly hook-laden, 'BLOOD/CANDY.'

Cut to a few months later and The Posies kick off our brand new...oh - ...wait.

That'd be getting ahead of myself.

The Posies' | The week of September 27, 2010

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 2010 | A few of our favorite things...

All Top 10 Lists are bullshit.

There - I said it. Yours, your favorite blog's, Pitchfork's, Stereogum's, Rolling Stone's, your local City Paper - whatever. Who cares how you've numbered and ordered things according to your collective taste from the past year? (Especially if you've given Kanye's latest a 10.0 or 5 stars—your taste is bullshit.)

Man, that feels good to say, hm?

If you're to navel gaze then, why not spotlight the folks who actually affected you over the previous year, who dropped a little ear candy and some good wishes along the way. A dose of insight perhaps? We're going to have a bit of a go at that this week as the year winds down.

Looking back, TVD had quite a number of 'Takeover Weeks" by some lovely ladies this year. So, we thought we'd kick off our lil' 2010 retrospective this morning with the women who made us look forward to turning on the lights each morning at TVD HQ and come to work:

The Submarines | The week of January 11, 2010

"...I just came inside from making this little mp3 with John from an old 78 of Billie Holiday's, "The Very Thought of You." John gave me a beautiful old phonograph, a Columbia Graphophone, for my birthday a couple of years ago. This is one of the nicest 78s we've collected.

Most of the others are cheapies from the flea markets—Tahitian recordings, Hawaiian guitar music, strange old jazz tunes with naughty lyrics. It's a little rough actually listening to them because they're quite harsh. The phrase 'put a sock in it,' comes from muffling the cone of the phonograph, which we usually do. But, it's fascinating to think you're hearing these recordings just as people did back when the records were pressed—there's a real connection to that time period, in the decades before the technology evolved to give the players a richer sound..."

The Submarines - Tugboat (Mp3)

Exit Clov | The week of January 25, 2010

"...This unilateral intervention is warranted by a momentous occasion for the band—namely the release of our brand new record, Memento Mori. Latin for "remember your mortality," Memento Mori is a departure from our previous material. It's a little on the heavy and melancholy side, but it's not without its moments of hope, brilliance and happiness...".

Exit Clov - District Menagerie (Mp3)

The Watson Twins | The week of February 8, 2010

"...We spent our childhood listening to records, staring at the sleeve for hours while listening to each track intently... there is a ritual that comes with flipping each side and so seeing this resurgence brings what I call the nostalgic tidal wave. A large beautiful sonic wave that we hope people will explore..."

The Watson Twins - U-N-Me (Mp3)

Jesca Hoop | The week of August 2, 2010

"...I'll never forget listening to Joni Mitchell's 'Song for a Seagull' on vinyl one a misty morning while sitting on the covered porch in a rocking chair amidst the redwood trees.

The songs, the mist, the tea, the trees all became the same thing a total environment. We listened to the record like it was a movie. And again and again. That record (and on vinyl) signifies those days of a gorgeous simplicity... of unfettered youth... of freedom..."

Jesca Hoop - Feast Of The Heart (Mp3)

The Mynabirds | The week of September 20, 2010

"...The long drive between Toronto and Montreal included a long conversation about great lyricists. I realized three of my all-time favorites are Canadian: Joni Mitchell, for knowing how to set a scene; Leonard Cohen, for his Zen way saying the most with the least; and Neil Young, for his jazz standard strength in simplicity. Then we all wondered aloud about the great lyricists of today. Who's our Dylan? Who can turn a phrase and get the zeitgeist of our whole generation? Do we have a zeitgeist? Or are we just the dregs of a non-movement, content with our bougie coffees and fancy phones while the world turns to shit?

I'd like to think not, to hope that the good voices will rise above the top 40 radio crap and redeem us. Sorry for the rant. Probably just preaching to the choir anyway. (Good that we've got a choir on the good side.) But seriously, who moves you these days, lyrically? How do you feel about politically - and socially-minded music? I, for one, eat it up. Reminds me of being a kid with pink hair and combat boots, my friends in bands with high ideals and punk patches, all of us excited about the world we were about to make our own. I say let's do it. There's still time. We'll tear it down and build it back up one lyric at a time..."

The Mynabirds - Numbers Don't Lie (Mp3)

Kitten | The week of October 18, 2010

"...Sometimes you're on and sometimes you're off. We were off. The nicest way to say it is that I just never hit my groove but to be honest it just felt like it was our first time playing these songs. We didn't do what we do. Usually if the world's shit, I can get on stage, rock it out and forget about it but we must have brought the B.S. with us 'cause it wasn't happening up there..."

Kitten - Kill The Light (Mp3)

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 agencies want you to be hearing. We post you decide.

Kings Go Forth - Don't Take My Shadow (Extended Tom Moulton Mix) (Mp3)
Arbouretum - Destroying To Save (Mp3)
Midnight Magic - Beam Me Up (Jacques Renault Remix) (Mp3)
Darwin Deez - Bad Day (Javelin Remix) (Mp3)
Eternal Summers - Pogo (Allen Blickle Remix) (Mp3)
Holiday Holiday - Hanged (Mp3)
The Luyas - Tiny Head (Mp3)
OK Go - White Knuckles (Sam Sparro Remix) (Mp3)
Invisible Hand - Coy Trap (Mp3)
The Bewitched Hands On The Top Of Our Heads - I Don't Know (Mp3)
Wise Blood - Loud Mouths (Mp3)
Savior Adore - Loveliest Creature (Mp3)
Madison - Santa Baby (Mp3)
I Was A King - Nightwalking (Mp3)
Turbo Fruits - Keepin On (Mp3)
David Mcalmont - Merry Christmas Is You (Mp3)
Jesse Harris - Put It Out Of Your Mind (Mp3)
Rachel Goodrich - Na Na Na (Mp3)
Religious to Damn - Drifter (Mp3)
All approved for download!