TVD New Orleans

Five questions with Yegor Romantsov of Debauche

Ever since I first saw Debauche at the Mid City Bayou Boogaloo I have been amazed at the band’s ability to move a crowd and to generate a feeling of joyous abandon among the audience.

Initially, I thought it was an act, ha-ha a Russian mafia band, that’s a good one! But then I found out their leader, Yegor Romantsov is actually from Russia. Hoping to get some answers and more details about Debauche and their music, we sent over some questions.

You’ve been creating quite a sensation in New Orleans with your band Debauche ever since you started playing locally. What brought you to New Orleans and tell us a little bit about your background?

I was born in the Soviet Union, in what is now known as Ukraine. I lived for eight years in New York and came to NOLA in 2006. I worked in construction for a few years. In 2008, I started to play solo in a coffee shop. A few months later, I got a few musicians to play with me. They were mostly former members of the Zydepunks. Music and people brought me to NOLA. I like the city very much and Debauche would have never happened anywhere else but New Orleans. It works both ways, and it is a sensation that is only made possible by the people in New Orleans.

You lead what is quite possibly the only Russian mafia band in the United States. Are there similar bands in Russia or other countries in the former Soviet Union?

There are not that many bands that do what we do in the United States or even in the former Soviet Union countries. Russians freak out when they hear Debauche, because of the way we arrange and play these songs. We get compared with Gogol Bordello a lot, which I take as a compliment. And yes, we are the only Russian mafia band in the United States.

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TVD UK

Needle Drop: Miss Kenichi, “The Ghost”

Miss Kenichi is Katrin Hahner from Berlin. She’s about to release her third album, The Trail on Sinnbus—eleven tracks that explore nature, emotion, and delve deep into Katrin’s introspective side.

“The Ghost,” unlike her last single, “Who Are You” is a little more direct. Katrin stares directly into the camera, she commands your attention, and it’s another side to the artist that we haven’t yet seen. The music has more purpose here and as the melody drives on, we see a man running through a field. Katrin is obscured, we’re not sure if he sees her or not…is she “the ghost?”

It’s uncertain what message Katrin is sending, but that’s the charm—it’s almost better that we don’t know, and we just take this beautiful journey with her.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Recommends: Girls Rock! DC Benefit with Drop Electric, Cigarette, and Young Rapids at the Black Cat, 11/22

DC has a long history of collaboration between bands and community partners, enriching the city in the process. The Godfather of Go Go, Chuck Brown once said, “People are looking for a way to take action, to do something other than donate on the Turnpike on their way to work, which seems impersonal.”

Look no further than this Saturday night to take action! Three local bands, Drop Electric, Cigarette, and Young Rapids take on the Black Cat mainstage to raise money for Girls Rock! DC—an organization that exists to inspire and cultivate through music.

Girls Rock! DC aims to create a supportive, inclusive, and creative space for girls to develop their self-confidence, build community, stand up, and rock out! It was founded in October 2007 by an all-volunteer collective of DC metro area musicians, teachers, artists, and community organizers—based on the Girls Rock! mission across the nation.

Headliners, Drop Electric, have a history of being philanthropic in their personal lives. Ramtin Arablouei of Drop Electric tells TVD, “Over the last few years we’ve gotten to know a few people who have worked with Girls Rock! DC and totally believe in their mission. We really think there should be a space for young women to learn, write, and play music together. This must continue to be encouraged. Given the history of people discouraging young women from playing instruments we want to see the trend reversed. If we can even do something small to help we are eager to do it!”

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Montrose, Montrose

Nowadays the band Montrose is chiefly remembered as the rock boarding school one Sammy (“I can’t drive 55/With my thumbs stuck in my eyes”) Hagar attended before graduating to a disappointing, if not semi-disastrous, tenure as front man of the post-David Lee Roth Van Halen. How unfair. At their best, namely on their debut 1973 self-titled debut, Montrose rocked balls, kicked ass and took names, and established themselves as perhaps America’s best response to Led Zeppelin. As for Montrose itself, some consider it America’s first true heavy metal LP. Me, I’d go with Elton John’s Goodbye Yellow Brick Road, but that’s beside the point.

Montrose came out of California, where guitarist Ronnie Montrose—who played sessions for Van Morrison (amongst others) and did a stint in The Edgar Winter Group—decided to put his own band together. The finished product included Sammy Hagar on vocals, Bill Church on bass, and Denny Carmassi on drums. Ted Templeman, who played an instrumental role in getting the band signed to Warner Brothers, produced the LP. Unfortunately this turned out to be a mixed blessing as Warners, which made it a practice to push only one LP from each genre at a time, already had the Doobie Brothers (!!!) in the rock slot and Deep Purple in the hard rock slot. Without publicity push from Warners, Montrose got left out in the cold, and only managed to reach the 133 spot on the U.S. Billboard charts.

But you can’t keep a good album down, not forever anyway, and the Montrose LP has received increasing attention over the following years, thanks to its strong songwriting, Montrose’s great guitar work, and Hagar’s hard-hitting vocals. I’ve always found it exceptionally easy to poke fun at Hagar, but on Montrose he proves the joke is on me, by doing things with his vocal chords that are illegal in Mormon Utah. (No, I have no idea what that means either.) In any event, Montrose has received its just desserts, which is more than you can say about Warners’ beloved Doobie Brothers, who deserve to be tied to a large stone and dropped into some deep and very black water.

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TVD Los Angeles

Hey, Shopkeeper: LA’s The Record Parlour

We’re thrilled to be able to talk to one of our favorite local crate digging establishments in Hollywood, The Record Parlour. Just over a year old, not only does the shop have an incredible collection in house, they can find you just about any title you have your heart set on—they found for me the Pointer Sisters’ Steppin in under 24 hours—and they possess one of the things LA is best known for—vibe.

Stepping into The Record Parlour is like stepping back into time, or stepping into the dream world of any music gear geek. They have on display loads of vintage amps, microphones, and my personal favorite, a Fender Rhodes—most of the pieces in, or getting into working condition.

The store has been building a name for themselves for putting on some of the most exciting and unique in-store shows and showcases in town, from pop-up shows with bands like Vintage Trouble to the event we are honored to be a part of this Friday, November 21—Will Dailey playing live with his band, with the entire performance being recorded and transferred directly to vinyl.

Please introduce yourself. Who are you and what do you do at The Record Parlour?

We are Chris Honetschlaeger, founder of The Record Parlour in Hollywood and Chadwick Hemus, store manager and partner.

How long has the store been open?

We first opened our doors in August of 2013.

But I heard that record sales are in decline—what made you want to open a record store?!

The “vinyl format” was more interesting to me than unreliable record sales figures from dubious sources. Double-digit growth in new record players and triple digit growth at vinyl pressing plants were a better indicator of the market opportunity for me. The Record Parlour is growing steadily month over month since opening and our store focuses on original releases versus new releases.

What is the last record your store sold?

We just sold 20 Zappa records to one guy about 15 minutes ago using Instagram.

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TVD Dallas

TVD Live:
Noah Gundersen at
The Loft, 11/16

PHOTOS: AMANDA DEERING | In the deep pauses between lyrics, The Loft was so quiet on Sunday night you could hear only the slightest rustle of a jam-packed crowd and the subtle creaking of the venue’s wooden floor. Nary a chuckle, nor a bout of side chatter, nor even a clank of bar glasses—only the silence of an audience completely transfixed by Noah Gundersen.

At the age of 24, Gundersen has already mastered the art of live performance. Of connecting so deeply with his audiences, drawing us in and quieting even the most fan-girlish among us. On a wintry Dallas night, hundreds cozied up together in the second story of The Loft to see the musician and his sister, Abby, perform a sold-out show. Yet, it still felt like the most intimate performance you’ve ever seen.

Noah-21

Opening with “Isaiah,” the Gundersens progressed through songs both new and old throughout the set—tracks spanning two EPs and a recent LP, as well as brand new songs yet unheard.

Through the ebbs and flows of songs like “Cigarettes” and “Family,” the brother-sister duo’s perfectly harmonized voices transcended from gorgeous, goosebump-inducing bellows to a barely-there whisper and back again. The contrast between his raw and weathered tone and her crystalline one, between highs and lows, sound and silence, dark and light: it all felt unsettling. But then, that, that is artistry—inspiring people, yet at the same time making them feel mildly uncomfortable.

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TVD Washington, DC

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Death From Above 1979 at the 9:30 Club, 12/1

The boys are at it again! After announcing their break-up in 2006, Death from Above 1979 reunited in 2011 to appease the public demand for a performance, embarking on a year long tour. Three years later, the duo found themselves back on the road and back in the studio.

A decade since the release of their debut album You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine, the Canadian punk-rockers announced the release of their second album back in June. Titled The Physical World, Death from Above 1979’s latest release hit the online shelves this past September. According to Death from Above 1979 members Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler, the album was “written and recorded between 2012 and 2014 in some real life Rorschach test where past and present are perfectly symmetrical and equally terrifying.”

In support of their album release, Death from Above 1979 is embarking on an international tour. The duo recently announced UK tour dates, but prior to crossing the pond, Grainger and Keeler are performing across the U.S. and Canada. Among their stops is a show at the 9:30 Club on Monday, December 1. Don’t have tickets yet? No worries, we’re giving away a pair!

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The TVD Storefront

Needle Drop: Twist, “Slums And Seaports”

Ever wonder what a collaboration between Nancy Sinatra and Ty Segall might sound like?

Twist is the musical partnership between singer Laura Hermiston and producer Brian Borcherdt (best known as a member of the Canadian electronic band Holy Fuck). The band has slowly been releasing music throughout 2013, culminating in the single “Slums And Seaports” which plays like a minted garage nugget—raved up ’60s pop rock and injected with a hardy dose of shoegaze.

The interplanetary Western vibes of the single lock in well with the latent distorted rhythm track, making for a blistering, psychedelic second half. The tension builds to an almost excruciating climax while Hermiston’s vocals remain as tranquil as a summer stroll. A strange sonic dichotomy that the song’s title seems to hint at.

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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.

“I’m back on air as usual! Today I talked to my Dad about dreams. He wanted to be a professional footballer or cricketer. Whats your dream? It can be as big or as small as you like. We’re going to talk dreams…

My ROTW is by the awesome The Wharves, The Bay—gorgeous harmonies and retro tinged indie pop! Three tracks incoming as per… This week’s #Shellshock is by Elderbrook and it’s called “Could.” It’s a lovely slice of electronica forthcoming on Black Butter Records whose vocals recall alt-J. You’re going to LOVE it.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Rhyton, Kykeon

Rhyton specialize in blending the sonic traditions and instrumentation of Greece and the Middle East with rock trio firepower of an oft improvisational nature. That might read as a recipe for self-indulgence, but the results, while certainly psychedelic in effect, also wield the discipline of top-notch jazzmen. Kykeon, their third LP and second for the Thrill Jockey label, continues their explorations to great reward; it’s a record that plays as strong as its cover is beautiful.

Rhyton consists of Dave Shuford, aka the leader of D. Charles Speer & the Helix and a former participant in the activities of the No-Neck Blues Band, Rob Smith of the Bronx band Pigeons, and Jimy SeiTang, a gentleman also associated with the No Neck scene but primarily known for the outfit Psychic Ills and his electronic solo project Stygian Stride.

The New York City-based No-Neck Blues Band, or NNCK for short, was part of a thriving underground of outsider rock business that came to a head in the midst of last decade. Some of the contributors to this scenario were able to engage, if not the mainstream, then at least larger audiences via Freak Folk and the New Weird, but the deep-psych/improv-rock/free folk of NNCK proved resistant (though not really by intention) to crossing over.

Of course, this isn’t a tidy assumption, since Wolf Eyes managed two discs of noise brutality on Sub Pop during the same era, but it does feel largely accurate. And so it’s doubly interesting how Rhyton’s latest is so downright easy on the ears. It does bear mentioning however that Shuford’s not exactly a novice to rock gestures of possibly wide(r) appeal.

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