The TVD Storefront

Mariage Blanc:
No Autobiography Biography

“I met Josh in 2006 when we were both 22 years old. We had a lot in common, including the fact that we were both aspiring musicians who hadn’t really accomplished much yet in terms of meaningful musical output. We formed Mariage Blanc in 2007 and it seems almost surreal to me that the last seven and a half years have passed by so quickly.”

“Anybody who has ever been in a serious band at any point can tell you that it’s not unlike most of the other relationships people experience in the different realms of their lives: you bask in some pretty amazing times and endure some pretty low times, as well. Members come and go over the years, weaving in and out of your life. Dynamics change and so do the people involved. I can say without any hesitation that my involvement in this band over the years has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, coming second only to my relationships with my fiancee, family, and friends.

A lot happens between your early 20s and 30s. During our time as a band, I’ve watched myself and my bandmates grow dramatically as both musicians and people. Invariably, this growth is accompanied by change. We came face to face with one of these changes when Josh and his fiancee made the decision to move from our native Pittsburgh to San Francisco last summer. It was a scary time for us. Josh and I have always had an understanding that we would continue this band until one of us is ready to stop, and while we were both fairly certain that the move wouldn’t mean the demise of the band, it was obvious that everybody (including myself) was nervous about the logistics of it all. Some friends and family were supportive about it; others seemed to doubt the likelihood of continuing a band under such circumstances.

For us, though, the bottom line was clear. We weren’t ready to stop, so we weren’t going to.

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The TVD Storefront

Amy & The Engine,
The TVD First Date

“The first records I remember holding in my hands were Canned Wheat by The Guess Who and Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica by The Ronettes. Growing up, I was constantly exposed to classic rock and girl groups of the ’50s and ’60s, thanks to my dad’s eclectic record collection. With Motown melodies and classic rock guitar riffs filling my brain, I knew from an early age what I loved about music and what I wanted to carry over into my own songs.”

“I’ve always admired the straight forward love songs of the ’50s and ’60s, and the melodies and harmonies used to tell the stories. I think our first single, “Last Forever,” is my take on blending my classic rock roots with my love for the sugary melodies and sentiments of ’50s and ’60s pop.

Diana Ross and The Supremes’ Let The Sunshine In… I’ll admit, I was first drawn in by the cover art (I’m a sucker for pretty packaging and labels), but once the needle touched down, I was hooked. I still have that record in a box under my bed today.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: The
Royal Potato Family artists at the Blue Nile tonight, 2/26 and 2/28

The Blue Nile helps you get a head start on festival season with two shows this week from artists with releases on Royal Potato Family Records. Marco Benevento plays Thursday night with Mike Dillon opening and Wil Blades returns on Saturday night.

Benevento is an adventurous keyboardist who is no stranger to New Orleans. Though his appearances tend to be around Jazz Fest, the last time I saw him was in late September 2013, which was a sold out show at the Blue Nile. He played with DaveDreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums. Both will join him again on this tour.

During that performance, he mostly stuck to piano, but added some interesting effects that added up to a really big sound.

Mike Dillon opens the show tonight. He will feature Claude Coleman Jr. and JJ Jungle.

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UK Artist of the Week: Fable

Fable releases her latest single “Silence Myself” this week—a smokey slice of slow rising pop, which makes Fable our seductive Artist of the Week.

The track is a complete departure from Fable’s usually more energetic performances, but it doesn’t make it any less captivating. The video is simple but effective as Fable hardly breaks eye contact throughout, bewitching us, taking over us completely, and she knows we’ll be back for more.

It’s hard to imagine her only being 19-years-old as her voice and spirit emanate an older soul. There’s a confidence about Fable. She’s already written alongside artists Paul Hartnoll (Orbital) and Russell Lissack (Bloc Party) and she’s about to support Archive in London, a testament to this confidence and the road ahead—we predict big things.

“Silence Myself” was released yesterday, 23rd February 2015, via 74 Music.

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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 here at TVD every Thursday.

“My ROTW is from a band I Interviewed at The Great Escape in Brighton three years ago and they were so hung over the nearly threw up live on air! Spectres release their magnificent debut album Dying shortly and NME awarded it a 9/10, it’s THAT good. You can hear three slices of it pre-release on my show tonight, so make sure your ears are arranged correctly.

This week’s #Shellshock is from Sleater-Kinney. If you were lucky enough to get tickets for their UK tour then I’m MEGA JELS.” —SZ

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Eternal Tapestry,
Wild Strawberries

Contemporary psych-rock veterans Eternal Tapestry practice in a branch of the style favoring seriousness of intent over faux-druggy tomfoolery. The Portland, OR group has scads of releases, but their newest considerably ups the level of ambition; Wild Strawberries, the band’s first 2LP, was recorded in a remote cabin over the course of a week and suitably finds them traveling into the aural wilderness. It’s out now on Thrill Jockey.

In tandem with the hippie movement’s proclivity for drug intake, the 1960s are designated as the apex of psychedelia. I’m not going to disagree, but I will add that most of the groundbreakers in the style took qualitative nosedives sooner rather than later by abusing not just substances but tropes swiped from blues, R&B, and to a lesser extent folk and country.

Some will decry it as heresy, but there are multiple units operating in the psych field right now that are the equal of their ‘60s antecedents, and one is Eternal Tapestry. While a few lineup changes have occurred over the years (notably Dewey Mahood leaving to dedicate his creativity to Plankton Wat), Eternal Tapestry currently consists of Nick Bindeman on guitar and vocals, Warren Lee on organ, Krag Likens on bass, Jed Lindeman on drums, and I’ll speculate Ryan Carlile is still around on sax and synth.

They’ve amassed a hefty discography, much of it on Thrill Jockey, though Guru Overload, a benefit for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, came out last year on the Oaken Palace label. Wild Strawberries widens their scope not only in number of sides but in execution, and in psych terms it easily fulfills expectations of sessions conducted in a cabin located in a burg known as Zigzag.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 2/26/15

“The Record Shops of New York, Co-op 87 Records: While the rest of the industry worries about MP3s kicking the chair from under the high street chain and streaming services looming over the shoulder of digital downloads, vinyl is enjoying a revival. Why? Your humble independent record shop…”

“A Huffington Post analysis of the most “wildly popular” types of stores in each state concludes Louisiana has a disproportionally high number of vinyl record shops. The analysis, conducted by the news website in collaboration with Yelp, suggests the state’s musically engrained culture—and perhaps New Orleans’ reputation as a hub for vinyl-loving hipsters—has helped carve out a retail niche…”

“Mill City Sound: New Hopkins record store contributing to vinyl boom…”

“Inside Retro-Vibe Music in Cardiff, a vinyl lover’s dream: With a massive 2900 sq ft of floor space, Retro-Vibe Music in Cardiff has two floors stuffed with thousands of pieces of vinyl, CDs, 78s, tapes, T-shirts, turntables and comics…”

“Rare vinyl records…are to go under the hammer at a Newbury auction tomorrow (Thursday)…A record in near mint condition of the Sex Pistols God Save the Queen (1977) in its original A&M sleeve, the property of a former employee of the record company, is estimated at £6,000 to £8,000…”

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TVD New Orleans

Wednesdays at the Square announces
2015 lineup

Though the weather outside shows no indications of an early thaw, signs of spring are in the air. Louisiana citrus has disappeared from area farmer’s markets and the Young Leadership Council announced on Tuesday the eagerly awaited lineup for its perennially popular Wednesday afternoon concert series.

Marc Broussard, Irma Thomas, Dumpstaphunk, Marcia Ball (pictured at top), and The Revivalists are among the headliners for the 12-week concert series, beginning Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Digging a little deeper into the lineup reveals some interesting combinations of performers. On Wednesday, May 6, Meschiya Lake opens for Earphunk. Read More »

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Raincoats, (s/t)

I love a band that has no idea what it’s doing. I’ve always considered amateurism a virtue rather than a vice, and preferred a band that is capable of producing only a vile racket to the slick musicianship of so-called professional musicians. Which is why I adore The Raincoats, whose early gigs were so bad one eyewitness said that every time a waiter dropped a tray “we’d all get up and dance.” But amateurish as they were, The Raincoats had the good sense to turn their lack of chops into an asset, by writing a bunch of punchy songs that made the most of what they could do, namely produce a sound that was as perversely catchy as it was chaotic.

Personally, I suspect the motives of the guy with his waiter and falling tray. I believe he was a closeted Haircut 100 fan, and immune to the charms of the all-female post-punk band from London and their uncompromisingly anarchic, yet inexplicably melodic, sound. One listen to their 1979 self-titled debut should suffice to convince anyone in their right mind that The Raincoats were onto something totally unique. Sure, I hear faint echoes of Television, Talking Heads, Mekons, and the Velvet Underground in a few songs, but The Raincoats were beholden to none of those bands, just as they owed nothing to their punk predecessors, eschewing as they did speed and power for more off-kilter effects.

No, what they were doing was creating a sound all their own, and as a result they stand alongside The Fall and PiL in the ranks your wonderfully idiosyncratic English bands. That they never made as much of a dent commercially as The Fall or PiL is just one more glaring injustice of fate, like the fact that I wasn’t chosen in the NFL draft despite my own high estimation of my imaginary abilities as a running back.

The Raincoats’ sound is not easy to describe. Abrupt shifts in tone and tempo, multiple voices clamoring against one another, lots of truly off-kilter drumming and dissonant guitar scratching, and the wild pyrotechnics of violinist Vicky Aspinall all contributed to a sound that could swing from harsh to lovely in a heartbeat. And the difference between their sound and what was happening around them was deliberate; they wanted to set themselves apart from the rock tradition, which they considered both sexist and racist. They succeeded to the extent that they never attracted more than a cult following, which included John Lydon and, most famously, one Kurt Cobain.

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The TVD Storefront

Mike Rutherford,
The TVD Interview

What do musical milestones mean to someone like Mike Rutherford? When you have invested nearly fifty years in one of the most iconic rock bands in the world, charted dozens of singles and sold 150 million+ albums, helped revolutionize the music video format, toured the world’s stadiums dozens of times over, and finally landed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame… where else is there to go? What else could you possibly do?

You just keep going. Mike Rutherford doesn’t like to live in the past. And while he is about to embark on a thirtieth anniversary tour with his band Mike + The Mechanics, he feels reflective rather than nostalgic. As Genesis was hitting their peak of worldwide pop stardom, Rutherford’s solo project became one of the most successful bands of the ‘80s. To celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Living Years album, and the thirtieth anniversary of The Mechanics, Rutherford re-recorded his biggest hit, the Ivor Award-winning single of the same name. The remastered The Living Years (released on February 10) also includes rare recordings from a 1989 tour, the inclusion of which inspired Rutherford to embark not only on a 2015 Mechanics tour, but to give some brand new songs of his a live stage.

On top of all of these musical milestones, Rutherford published The Living Years: The First Genesis Memoir. Far from being a Keith Richards-style tell-all, the book does delve deeply into the inside story of his musical life, as one might expect. But it diverges from there into a personal fascination of his: the parallels he discovered between his father’s memoirs and his own, and the stark generational divide that colored the relationship between the distinguished naval officer from his rock star son. It’s a unique take on the usual rock star tell-all that keeps things interesting. 

As Mike + The Mechanics get ready to embark on their massive U.S. and European tour that kicks off at The Birchmere and ends in Belgium, Rutherford touched on a lot of different topics in our interview: from the transformation of Genesis from progressive rockers to pop superstars, to how he prefers to record his albums, to what it’s like to make old songs feel new again for audiences all over the world.

When I was in England some years ago, I went on a coach tour through the countryside. We saw all sorts of beautiful ruins and other ancient architecture. Then the driver stopped our bus by your old school and announced, very seriously, “This is the school where Mike Rutherford and Peter Gabriel and Tony Banks and Anthony Phillips formed the band Genesis.”

Oh! Charterhouse, yeah! We live a few minutes away, so it’s still part of our world, yeah.

Growing up in the ‘80s, the Mechanics and Genesis were all over Top 40 radio. Did you ever feel any conflict about going from prog rock to a more pop-oriented sound? It seemed like a surprisingly natural progression.

Funnily enough, it didn’t quite feel like that to us, because when Peter left, the first two albums after—Trick of the Tail, Wind & Wuthering—were more progressive, so it happened over two or three albums, really. And then I still sort of questioned… well, what happened was a change in public perception. In the ‘80s, MTV came in and the hit single was so everywhere. The singles then had such a huge profile that they overshadowed the rest of the album. Of course, the singles tend to stick in people’s minds, so I think what happened was quite natural to me.

Some would argue that the mid-‘60s to early-‘80s was a unique period of time in popular music where the album was what was most popular; everything before and since has been about the singles.

Yeah, that’s true.

Speaking of singles, I listened to the new recording of “The Living Years” and wondered, how does that song resonate with you now, so many years from the emotions that inspired it?

I think the new track is paying respect to the anniversary. You can’t beat the original one, ever. It’s still very special to me. In a sense, the reason The Mechanics are touring is because about four years ago during some live shows I couldn’t believe how well some of the Mechanics’ songs went down on stage because The Mechanics… we hardly ever toured! We never did much touring ever so, in a sense, it was a new thing for me to hear all these Mechanics songs played on stage… and the audience really connected with them.

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