TVD New Orleans

Satchmo Summerfest 2014 Weekend Picks

The 2014 festival gets into full swing on Saturday and Sunday. There are plenty of options for music lovers to listen and dance to while enjoying great food and libations. Here are my picks. Click the link for the full schedule.

Before the Satchmo Summerfest kicks off, the music community will lay to rest Lionel Ferbos, the 103-year old trumpeter and vocalist who was the oldest jazz musician alive. The festival is being dedicated to his memory and a good place to start the weekend on Saturday is checking out Lars Edegran and the New Orleans Ragtime Orchestra. Ferbos played with the band and the mostly tour-reticent musician actually went on the road to Europe with them.

Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers isn’t a traditional jazz band, but with Alex McMurray, Josh Paxton, and Matt Perrine, they can play anything. I expect a jazz and Louis Armstrong-inspired set. Read More »

Posted in TVD New Orleans | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Beach Boys, “Bluebirds Over the Mountain” b/w “Never Learn Not to Love”

Existence is unutterably strange. It’s a fact. The world is filled with miracles and marvels and inexplicable occurrences that defy all rational explanation and that stand, in fact, as rebukes to the very conception of rationality itself. Take the 45 rpm record I hold metaphorically before me. Soon I will place it on my metaphorical record player. It’s by a band called The Beach Boys. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. Boy, could they sing!

But I’m not here to write about the baroque vocal skills of the band that gave us “Good Vibrations,” or how the Beach Boys gradually shed their squeaky-clean image to become hirsute, coke-snorting, acid-gobbling hippies. I’m here to talk about their choice in covers; specifically in the case of the metaphorical single that is now playing on my record player. The A-side of the 1968 single, entitled “Bluebirds Over the Mountain,” was written and recorded by rockabilly artist Ersel Hickey in 1957. The B-side is entitled “Never Learn Not to Love,” and is a blatant (as in he took everything from soup to nuts) Dennis Wilson steal of “Cease to Exist,” a song written by one Charles Milles Manson, of swastika carved on forehead and Tate/LaBianca murder spree fame. Both tunes ended up on The Beach Boy’s 1969 LP 20/20.

The BB’s cover of “Bluebirds Over the Mountain”—which Brian Johnston brought to the band—is a calypso flavored rock tune of the tamest sort, and not exactly what I would call either catchy or hit material. Mike Love, Carl Wilson, and Johnston all sing, with Love handling lead vocals on the verses and bridge and Wilson and Johnston sharing lead vocals on the choruses, but they lack spunk, and seem to be merely going through the motions. (Check out “Heroes and Villains” and “Sloop John B” for some real vocals.) Indeed, the best thing about the mediocre “Bluebirds” is the guitar work of ringer Ed Carter, a former member of R&B band The Shufflers turned member of the Beach Boys’ backing band, which also included great Daryl Dragon, who was later promoted to captain of Captain and Tennille.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

TVD Asbury Park

TVD Recommends: Southside Johnny at
the Stone Pony, 8/2

I’m sure there have been articles written about Southside Johnny or the Stone Pony that have not mentioned Bruce Springsteen but this will not be one of them. To some Southside Johnny is distinct for not being Springsteen, that other guy the E Street Band played with.

Sure he made it, but never eclipsed the long shadow of that other Asbury kid who made good. Not that it’s a competition—and while Bruce has ascended to rock ‘n’ roll sainthood, he is not the only one with a seemingly ceaseless touring schedule.

It would be hard to imagine Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes not performing as the Stone Pony celebrates its 40th anniversary this summer. Both survived a serious downswing in the 1990′s. For Johnny it saw a relocation to Nashville to take some time off while some of the Jukes joined the Max Weinberg 7 on Conan O’Brien’s show. For the Pony, it seemed certain to meet the business end of a wrecking ball. That it was spared can be thanked, in part to crusading veterans of the scene like the man born John Lyon.

Read More »

Posted in TVD Asbury Park | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Animals,
The Animals

In addition to The Beatles and Stones, the British Invasion produced numerous other noteworthy groups, and one of the most successful was The Animals. A serious-minded bunch led by that brawny-throated student of American blues and early rock ‘n’ roll Eric Burdon, they persist in the modern memory mainly for their hit singles. But on the subject of albums, they also had a few very good ones, though differing US and UK editions have frustrated collectors on both sides of the Atlantic for years. Of the two versions of their 1964 debut The Animals, the Brit issue may not be the best, but it does give a deep glimpse into what this no-nonsense, solidly rocking band was initially all about.

Eric Burdon seems like the kind of cat who’d rather keel over dead than quit singing. Nearly fifty years after his first album came out he’s still out there doing it on stages, and like the R&B legends that provided him with his formative inspiration, his continued activity comes without a whole lot of pomp and circumstance.

Because he played an enjoyably quirky role in the landslide of ‘60s psychedelic rock by fronting a later incarnation of The Animals and proceeded from that to get his fingers nice and funky on a pair of albums in collaboration with the California groove merchants War, Burdon’s profile has easily transcended the outfit that began in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1962, when he joined up with a group then called The Alan Price Rhythm and Blues Combo.

In addition to Burdon and organist/keyboardist Price, the other members were Hilton Valentine on guitar, John Steel on drums, and Bryan “Chas” Chandler on bass. Rechristened as The Animals and following the advice of Yardbirds’ manager Giorgio Gomelsky, who obviously saw something in the band’s early stage act that was comparable to the act under his supervision, they moved to London and quickly hit the big time.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment


The Single Girl: IndianRedLopez /
CS Buchan split 7″

IndianRedLopez have created a track that’s ambitious, experimental, and eminently listenable. It’s easy to get lost in “Any Given City” as you never quite know where the track’s going to take you, and it’s all the stronger for it.

Electro, indie, alternative, and shoegaze influences in the mould of Mew at their best come to the fore as IndianRedLopez create a song that should be a template for their sound going forward.

CS Buchan is the founder of Fit Like Records which has released the double A-side single. His daughter Katie (aka Best Girl Athlete) features on both tracks and, at just 16 years old, it is clear that her voice is far more mature than her tender years.

On first listen this is standard folk fare but, delve deeper and you have a beautifully crafted song that melds indie, folk, and traditional Celtic music to create a wonderfully listenable track that, in a strange way, compliments IRL’s more eclectic offering very nicely.

Posted in TVD UK | Leave a comment

TVD New Orleans

Satchmo Summerfest 2014 Friday Picks


The 14th annual festival celebrating the life and music of New Orleans’ most famous son, Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong, kicks off Friday morning with a second line parade at 10:30 AM from Jackson Square to the Old U.S. Mint. Performances and discussions take place all weekend long. Here are my picks for the first day.

Since Chevron has come on as a major sponsor (TVD is a media sponsor), the fest has been able to book bands previously outside the budget. Topping the list this year is the first ever appearance by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

They hit at 6:30 PM on the Chevron Red Beans and Ricely stage on the Barracks Street side of the historic building. The ever-effervescent personality James “Satchmo of the Ghetto” Andrews follows at 8 PM.

Read More »

Posted in TVD New Orleans | Leave a comment


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.

“On this week’s show my ROTW is Luck by Tom Vek. Pushing boundaries as always, I’ll be playing three bountiful numbers from the album.

I’ll also have my #shellshock to share with you! If you haven’t heard the first taste of GOAT’s second record Commune then this is your chance. There will be the usual accompaniment of new and emerging music as I spin some of the best new Alt releases. Love music? Don’t miss it.” —SZ

Posted in TVD UK | Leave a comment

The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
The Moody Blues,
Go Now–The Moody Blues #1

Though the music they produced was only fitfully successful, the Denny Laine-fronted incarnation of The Moody Blues deserves to be remembered for more than a momentary chart fling topped by a gem of a single. In ’65 they released an album at home and another in the US under distinct titles, both holding a dozen tracks and with a third of each LP also unique. The better of the two, Go Now–The Moody Blues #1, was issued in the States by London Records.

Heavy on covers and by extension lacking in gestures toward originality, the ’64-’66-era Moody Blues are unlikely to be many people’s (I’ll stop short of saying anybody’s) most beloved component in the British Invasion. In fact, talk of the group today reliably focuses on the post-Denny Laine/Clint Warwick lineup that saw new members John Lodge and Justin Hayward helping to transmogrify the Moodies into one of the leading if artistically lesser examples of Symphonic Rock. I won’t sully the Prog genre with an inapt association since there was hardly anything progressive about The Moody Blues Mk 2.

Instead, they exemplified the Middlebrow impulse, though that’s ultimately a separate discussion. This piece concerns a band that came together when the leader of Denny Laine and the Diplomats joined up with a bunch of nameless Birmingham hopefuls, their main desire hitting it big or even just making a good living; they briefly played as the M & B 5, the initials an attempt at landing sponsorship from two local beer brewers (last names Mitchell and Butler). And similar to many of their contemporaries, The Moody Blues’ method at least initially was the borrowing and alteration of Rhythm and Blues.

And they did storm the charts with “Go Now,” in the process overtaking in popularity the terrific Leiber and Stoller-produced original by Bessie Banks, though the idea of the cover destroying the source’s commercial hopes is basically a myth. Banks’ tune was released by the Tiger label in January of ’64 while The Moody Blues’ version didn’t emerge until the following November, eventually peaking at #10 in the US in February of ’65 (it took top Brit honors a month earlier).

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

TVD San Francisco

TVD Live: Mötley Crüe and Alice Cooper at the Shoreline, 7/23

Alice Cooper Performing Live at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View (1 of 13)

Last week I saw one of my favorite bands on the planet perform on their final tour. I’ve seen Mötley Crüe 6 or 7 times over the years and I could easily see them play many more times. It’s been a good run for the bad boys of rock having sold over 80 million records, sold out countless tours across the globe, and spawned more than 2,500 Mötley Crüe branded items available in over 30 countries.

They’ve built a heavy metal empire and along the way set the bar very high for what defines the best and the worst elements of being a rock star. But, you have to respect these guys for knowing when to call it a day. Leaving the fans with a lasting memory while they are arguably at their finest, this show was everything I had hoped it would be and more—a mind-blowing mix of fire, explosions, and musicianship set to a stellar choice of cuts from the band’s extensive catalog.


In between it all, Nikki Sixx would get intimate with the crowd and talk about the band’s formation and the early days. I wouldn’t be surprised if his eyeliner might have smudged with a few tears because he was starting to get emotional.

Read More »

Posted in TVD San Francisco | Leave a comment

TVD Washington, DC

TVD Ticket and Vinyl Giveaway: The Deadmen at the 9:30 Club, 8/9

The Deadmen are bringing Americana rock to the nation’s capital and are definitely a band to look out for this year. Despite their morbid name, The Deadmen are alive and kicking in the DC music scene and are here to stay.

The band is composed of three talented singer-songwriter-guitarists—Josh Read, Justin Jones, and Justin Hoben— and bassist John Hutchins. They each bring new elements to the style and writing of their music. Although they formed The Deadmen recently, they have been performing individually for more than a decade.

We interviewed Justin Jones last year to discuss his “I Can Feel It Tour 2013″ and the upsurge in the popularity of rock ‘n’ roll. Jones puts a lot of value into creating quality rock, and it shows.  He told us, “We played a show in Indianapolis a while ago and someone came up to me afterwards and said, ‘I just wanted to thank you for playing fucking rock and roll—no xylophones and whistles and melodicas and shit.’ And I love all that stuff, but you know what I’m talking about. I never really paid particular attention to the newest trending thing. When stuff gets a little too derivative, it just starts to sound like watered-down whatever it’s trying to rip off. To me, it’s just never as good as the real thing.’ 

Read More »

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 10 Comments

  • Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text Alternative Text