TVD New York City

TVD Kickstarts: CBGB Punk Photos by Godlis, 1976-1979: The Book

I’ve known David Godlis’ photographs longer than I’ve known him. If you’ve read any number of books or New York Times articles about CBGB and related subjects, chances are you know his work as well. I finally befriended him 6 or 7 years ago during one of my frequent periods of unemployment. He needed some help scanning proofsheets, and I was able and willing. Listening to a mix of Tom Waits, Bob Dylan, and Howard Stern broadcasts, we got to know each other pretty well.

The one surprising thing I found out was that he had never had a book published. “I’m working on something…” “I’m talking to some publishers…” “I may do a Kickstarter campaign…” These were the various things he said keeping things somewhat close to the vest. Well, he’s finally launched his Kickstarter campaign, and the response has been astounding. He met his initial goal of $30,000 within five days! Of course, if you’re interested in a limited edition copy of the man’s timeless work, you should still donate.

Godlis was generous enough to spend a few minutes talking about the CBGB days with us.

What did you shoot prior to discovering CBGB, and how did you discover the club?

Prior to arriving in New York City in 1976, I was a “street photographer,” trying to shoot like Diane Arbus, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Lee Friedlander all rolled into one.

When I moved here from Boston and found some work, I began looking for a club or bar to hang out in that had music or a good jukebox. I guess all paths were leading to CBGB’s after I spied an issue of Punk magazine and saw the back of the Village Voice with those adverts for bands with odd interesting names – Blondie, Television, Ramones, Suicide. I had also seen a photo in Boston of Patti Smith and Bob Dylan in the summer of 1975. So, down to the Bowery I went and the rest is history.

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TVD UK

Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“It’s that time again! I’ve a ROTW from Gulp, regular listener Rhys will be happy! This week’s #shellshock from Superfood—it’s a gas…I swear!

Wednesdays 10-12pm on Bolton FM on 96.5fm, online at www.boltonfm.com or via our free iphone / android app too!” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Herman’s Hermits,
Their Greatest Hits

Amongst the insults lobbed at Herman’s Hermits over the decades: fabricated, shallow, calculatedly commercial, utterly safe, disposable. At home they scored hits and in the US became one of the most popular imports of the mid-‘60s, though for many they are simply a Brit Invasion phenomenon connecting the Frankie Avalon/Fabian ‘50s scene and the eventual rise of bubblegum. Any folks curious as to what the fuss was all about might want to look into ABKCO’s LP reissue of Their Greatest Hits.

Herman’s Hermits can be considered the UK equivalent of and predecessor to The Monkees, though they had to fight longer for a redemption that is still in progress, as many persist in evaluating them as eternal inhabitants of Squaresville, damned to never ascend phoenix-like from the circumstances thrust upon them by their era.

The ever-growing legion of Pop scientists will chalk this up to plain Rockism, but it’s a little more complex than that. Prior to getting captured in the viselike clutches of Mickey Most, Herman’s Hermits were a highly amiable small-time gigging Manchester-based band, one initially shouldering the rather unimaginative moniker of the Heartbeats; it was subsequent to Peter Noone’s arrival that a name change, reportedly inspired by managers Harvey Lisberg and Charlie Silverman, occurred.

Herman’s Hermits is a sly appellation; unlike the Heartbeats, it stuck in the memory, and it straddled the lingering and soon to resurface pop idol angle while acknowledging if not fully succumbing to the post-Beatles vogue for leaderless units. Once in league with Most the only member of the act to unfailingly appear on their studio efforts was the gent some mistakenly thought was Herman; the front-man, or in the parlance of a certain UK group called the High Numbers, The Face.

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TVD UK

UK Artist of the Week: Alburn

PETER LARSSON FOR TVD | Scottish alt-rockers Alburn have started to make a name for themselves on the bustling Scottish music scene with some fine live performances and impressive support slots. Songs such as the title track from their sophomore EP, “Mouthful Of Glass” really showcase an abrasive, in your face sound and endearing rawness reminiscent of the US underground of the late ’90s early noughties.

Their EP, “Mouthful Of Glass” is out now via Spilt Lies Records and the band has been compared to the likes of Texas Is The Reason and The Appleseed Cast which, in our book, is no bad thing!

Alburn exhibit an ability to write technically impressive songs but with the added bonus of addictive hooks and memorable choruses which mark the band out as ones to watch in the future. We will certainly be looking forward to a full length offering from them in the not to distant future.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Premiere:
Harris Hawk,
“Make the Fonz Bleed”

“I was in the 4th grade. I lived in Littleton, CO. I worshipped Janet, Whitney, and Mariah. They were the very beginning of my musical awareness and I have great respect for their talents. That was the summer my aunt came to town.”

“She lived in LA, but hailed originally from Seattle like the rest of my mom’s family. She saw Nirvana play in small clubs. She gave me the album that served as the catalyst that brought me into the world where the music was raw, emotional, and tough. Where the guitars expressed as much as the vocals. Where there was no discernable pretense, nothing was polished. I was the weird kid and I had found my home.

It was 1993. I listened to Nevermind countless times on my little bedside table alarm clock/tape deck. It would be almost a decade before I seriously started exploring my own musical voice. When Kurt Cobain died, my aunt wouldn’t leave the house. My grandparents laid flowers on his driveway. And my young self struggled to make the connection between the artist I admired and the person in enough pain to kill himself. I still do. And, every once in a while, I stop to think about how deeply rooted my musical expression is in my own pain. And then I stop and go about my day.”
Anne Warnock, vocals, guitar

“I remember finding my dad’s old records in middle school and being blown away by the sound compared to my CDs.”

“I remember Dark Side of the Moon being a completely new album and scaring the shit out of me. Records made it fun to shop for music as well. Finding Petitioning the Empty Sky and blasting that is another wonderful memory. Nothing beats the warmth you hear on vinyl. How’s that?”
Mike Sullivan, bass

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Eric Clapton,
No Reason to Cry

Over the course of my writing “career,” I’ve practically made a cottage industry of disparaging Eric Clapton. I’ve called his supergroup Cream overrated, eviscerated him for making inexcusably racist remarks in the mid-seventies, and let it be known that I’m revolted by just about every song he’s written in the past several decades, especially those twin pillars of pure treacle, “Tears in Heaven” and “My Father’s Eyes.” I’ve condemned him for turning his own best song, “Layla,” into a sluggish travesty, and called him chinless, feckless, gormless, a tool, one of the most overrated guitarists in rock history, and the owner of a voice less suited for rock’n’roll than for working behind the customer service desk at your local IKEA. Oh, and let’s not forget Slowbland.

So why write a review of a guy I have virtually zero respect for, aside from his brilliant work with Blind Faith and Derek and the Dominos, and a small handful of great songs scattered across approximately 150 LPs? Because I actually enjoy 1976’s No Reason to Cry, that’s why. Or at least I used to, when I was a mere sprite, and I’m curious to discover why. It’s hardly one of Clapton’s more beloved albums, and while you can actually find human beings who think highly of 1974’s 461 Ocean Boulevard, which included that pair of embarrassments “I Shot the Sheriff” and “Willie and the Hand Jive,” I’ve never run into a single sentient being with ears that worked who had so much as a single good thing to say about No Reason to Cry.

Like its 1975 predecessor, There’s One in Every Crowd, No Reason to Cry contains no reggae-lite hits or beloved cult favorites, and as far as most people are concerned is simply another one of the many LPs that marked Clapton’s largely lost decade, the seventies, which saw him beat heroin addiction by becoming a hardcore drunk, and was marked by constant geographical cures to Miami, Jamaica, and finally (in the case of No Reason to Cry), Shangri-la, The Band’s former bordello turned recording studio in depraved Los Angeles, home of the evil Eagles.

During the 1970s plastic and cocaine-infested LA was where bands came to lose the thread; small wonder that David Bowie, who recorded the brilliant Station to Station there but in the process lost his shit thanks to a diet of peppers and milk (seriously) supplemented by limo-length lines of high-grade cocaine, later remarked, “The fucking place should be wiped off the face of the earth.” It was also the place where Robbie Robertson, who was also doing a fair amount of blow at the time, received a rude wake-up call in the form of a morning walk along the beach during which he encountered a fully dressed and unconscious Keith Moon, being tossed to and fro by the surf.

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TVD New Orleans

Mad Decent Block Party celebrates seventh birthday at Mardi Gras World, 8/29

Back in 2008, it happened on a whim. It was just a block party. The guys at Mad Decent wanted to do something for the kids in Philadelphia who were hanging out in the East Coast heat all summer long. So they got a permit from the city and put some speakers and caution tape in front of “The Mausoleum,” as the then-headquarters of the label was called (the building had actually been a manufacturing site for mausoleums in some bygone, pre- Diplo era). No more than 1,000 people showed up throughout the whole day.

Seven years later, that block party has grown significantly. Now a one-day festival, these ragers welcome thousands of fans in twenty-three individual cities. The lineups have expanded from the Mad Decent roster to include larger national acts and you definitely can’t just show up anymore.

Due to the increased popularity, the organization has made it a ticketed event, instead of the free, first come-first-served party it had been for the five first years. Regarding the change, label manager Jasper Goggins said, “It’s not like the goal is to make money off of this thing; the reason it had to go to a ticketed system this year is because we couldn’t accommodate all the people who wanted to come.”

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Phox,
“Slow Motion”

Wisconsin 6-piece Phox dropped their debut album this past June. A stunning collection of artsy, alternative folk that sits as well on adult contemporary stations as it does on hipster blogs. Despite the AAA flair to their often jazz infused material, the band comes through with some surprisingly fresh and daring material for their first LP.

The gem of the debut is the deservingly singled out “Slow Motion” which showcases the husky vocal gymnastics of lead singer Monica Martin. The beautiful singing and songwriting which inhabits the song remains undeterred by the strange structure and rhythmic changes that seem to shape shift with every chord change. And is that a clarinet in there? It certainly is. Possibly the one move that shifted the song away from total mainstream appeal, but a delish musical moment none the less.

The band released their EP “Confetti” in early 2013 and after a Daytrotter session, positive press, a spot at SXSW and a national tour opening for Blitzen Trapper, began to garner some serious attention. The band played Lollapalooza as a last-minute addition in August 2013, drawing a large crowd despite their midday spot. A show people referred to as one of the best sets of the festival.

Phox is touring the UK, France and Germany until late 2014.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Il Sogno del Marinaio,
Canto Secondo

The second full-length by Il Sogno del Marinaio, an international entity comprising two Italians and an American, features a fresh yet familiar aural breeze combining progressive rock’s instrumental adeptness and expansionist possibilities with a lean punk-derived lack of malarkey. That the Yank is Mike Watt demands note, but it’s far from the only reason to investigate Canto Secondo, which is freshly available on CD/vinyl/digital via the Clenchedwrench label.

It’s important to respect this trio’s choice of handle, for it’s just one more example in the enduring tradition of naming that underscores the struggle for creative equality inherent to Rock’s communicative structure (furthermore, the Italian moniker translates into English as The Sailor’s Dream). But as stated in the paragraph above, a third of this unit does consist of the great bassist Mike Watt.

Another point in the triangle is guitarist Stefano Pilia, an Italian acquaintance of Watt who had the fortitude to ask a man significantly his senior and of considerable reputation to form a band with his drumming countryman Andrea Belfi. This they did in 2009, commencing a short tour almost directly afterward and recording that first LP between the shows.

La Busta Gialla didn’t come out until January of ’13, and it wasn’t really hard to understand why. While not aptly described as Experimental, a key component in its prog-influenced sensibility is indeed experimentation, as was the on-the-fly looseness that can only be transcended by the confluence of heavyweight talents.

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The TVD Storefront

We’re seeking interns for a record semester.

They come, they go—every 6 months or so it seems, leaving an indelible mark at TVD and on their own careers. Some depart to labels. Some are drafted by PR firms. Hell, some even stay on as TVD editors from their own home city—they’re just that good.

Fall 2014 looms and we still have a handful of internship openings for Autumn and even into Spring 2015. We’re seeking bright, self motivated, articulate future music industry professionals to join our team on the content side and the marketing and social media outreach that informs the day to day at TVD. Also, candidates need not be in Washington, DC where we’re based to be considered—just be awake when we are.

Interested? Drop Jon and Olivia an email introducing yourself.

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