TVD Nashville

Billy J. Kramer,
The TVD Interview

Billy J. Kramer seemingly came from nowhere (well, Bootle, Lancashire, England, to be precise) to climb the upper reaches of the UK and U.S. pop charts beginning in 1963. Hand-picked to join the NEMS Enterprises artist roster by The Beatles’ manager, Brian Epstein, Kramer was given Lennon/McCartney songs to record and was produced by George Martin. When his original backing musicians quit, professional Manchester combo The Dakotas were hired by Epstein to be Kramer’s band. He rode the wave of Beatlemania worldwide and had several top ten hits in multiple countries.

After the beat music boom crested in 1965, Kramer and The Dakotas parted ways. He launched a new career in cabaret and British television, maintaining a solo career there for the next two decades before relocating to the U.S. He has recently released a new CD, I Won The Fight, and is excited to be a part of the British Invasion 50th Anniversary Tour.

How did you get involved with the tour?

I was approached by the promoters, you know? I’ve been living here for a long time, doing gigs and different things, and when they came up with the idea for this tour, I said, “Yeah.” I’ve been very uplifted by the whole thing. I thought it would be good but it’s been better than I could ever imagine.

After the British Invasion tour ends, I’m going to the UK to do the Solid Silver Sixties 30th Anniversary Tour. It will be with Mike Pender of The Searchers, Chris Farlow, P.P. Arnold, and The Merseybeats. It will be thirty concerts in all and it will the first time I have toured there in eighteen years. I very excited about it.

You toured the U.S. prior to The Beatles’ arrival. Do you still see some of your original fans as you tour?

Yes, definitely. I have a connection with Beatlefest, which I have done on numerous occasions, and the fans always come out.

As you were growing up, what artists caught your attention early on?

Buddy Holly singing “That’ll Be the Day” hit me really hard the first time I heard it on Radio Luxembourg, which I used to listen to on Sunday nights. Also, the bass player in my first band had a brother who would bring records back from America. I remember he had the 78s of Elvis singing “Hound Dog” and “Don’t Be Cruel.” Both of those records blew me away! I started to collect records myself around that time.

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TVD UK

The Single Girl:
Bridges, “BFF”

Bridges sound like a band with huge ambitions, and with a single like “BFF,” these boys should be riling up a festival crowd or two in the future.

Starting quietly, the single builds into a fist pumping, lighters-in-air chorus that will have your head nodding and foot stomping along. Although the video is a little lo-fi, it does show the band at their beginnings, the start of something big, the calm before the storm. Their free b-side “Chimera” shows another shade to this anthemic indie four-piece and it’s good to see.

Obvious comparisons are Kings of Leon, and this isn’t a bad thing. We forget that Kings of Leon started their career from humble beginnings, not the shiny indie force we see today. Let’s hope Bridges stay slightly left of centre and a little less polished—that’s their charm.

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve:
Urinals,
Next Year at Marienbad

Rightly ranked as one of the best and most influential of the ‘70s punk acts, Los Angelinos the Urinals are back with Next Year at Marienbad, only their third full-length in an extended if fitful existence. Long cherished for the unstrained art-ruckus comprising the trio’s early output, the new record emphasizes a vigorous realization of high-quality songwriting. It’s out now on the band’s Happy Squid label.

The title of this release, most certainly a reference to Last Year at Marienbad, the masterful ’61 film directed by the great French auteur Alain Resnais (who we lost last March at age 91), mainly underscores the background of bassist-vocalist John Talley-Jones and drummer Kevin Barrett, both UCLA film students and founding Urinals, the group formed in ’78 with philosophy major Kjehl Johansen.

But the playful moniker illuminates a mild similarity between Resnais and the Urinals, the former predominantly known to non-cinephiles for his Holocaust documentary short Night and Fog (’55) and features Hiroshima mon amour (’59) Last Year at Marienbad and Muriel (’63), while the latter’s reputation primarily derives from the three 7-inches they squeezed out in ‘79-’80, records compiled with stray comp tracks and live stuff on Negative Capability…Check it Out!, issued first on compact disc by Amphetamine Reptile in ’96 and again by Warning Label in ’04; a 2LP emerged on In the Red in ’13.

However, Resnais worked as a director until the end of his life, and likewise the story of the Urinals endures after 1980; in the early part of the decade, having developed beyond punk beginnings they became 100 Flowers, releasing a self-titled full-length in ’83 on Happy Squid (their label since the beginning) and getting the completist treatment by Rhino Records in ’90, 100 Years of Pulchritude one of the more useful single disc collections of ‘80s u-ground rock activity to hit racks immediately in its wake.

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A morning mix of news for the vinyl inclined

In rotation: 3/3/15

“Rega reveals 13 signed limited edition Record Store Day turntables: We knew that Rega was launching a limited edition Record Store Day turntable, but now it has been revealed that there will be 13 extra special decks…”

“Central London record store BM Soho—formerly Black Market—has closed down, though it promises to return ‘bigger and stronger than ever very soon in central London…'”

“Snag Some Vinyl at @BeachlandCle Record Riot: It’s for that growing number of vinyl junkies that the Beachland Ballroom is holding its Record Riot All-Vinyl Record Show. The event will feature dealers from both local dealers and dealers from outside the area with music in a variety of genres…”

“Sex Pistols single sold for £6,000—Unplayed copy of ‘God Save The Queen’ was among handful not destroyed by record company: …Nearly all of the 25,000 copies of the single that had been pressed in the six days were promptly destroyed…”

“Classic rock lives on at Lacey’s Boomerang Music and Video: ‘It looks like a bigger version of my bedroom when I was a teenager,’ said Gary, 57.”

“Despite the ‘streaming music boom’ and the rather more modest ‘vinyl revival’ both providing some positive spin, few would deny that 2014 was another challenging year for the record industry, following that temporary moment of optimism when the global recorded music market saw the slightest bit of growth in 2012…”

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TVD Dallas

TVD Live: Seryn at
The Live Oak, 2/25

PHOTOS: AMANDA DEERING | It was a happy homecoming for Seryn last week. Nashville transplants originally from the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the band has experienced its fair share of challenges in recent years—from leaving its label to acquiring new management, to losing several members, adding several members, and moving to the fiercely competitive Music City itself. And with a new album in tow, their first record in four years, the sextet might have a lot to prove.

But despite change, and fans’ high expectations, one thing was certain to the Fort Worthians who packed into The Live Oak on Wednesday night—these hometown heroes we know and love are still very alive and well.

Seryn2

The thing to know about Seryn is you can’t truly grasp the mystical nature of their sound through headphones. With members articulating a vast range of instrumentation—from guitar to ukulele, banjo and violin—and harmonies composed of all six voices, the band wields the rich sonic power of an orchestra, more than a folk group. Songs rise and fall like tides, sending you out to sea one minute and pulling you back to shore the next. Impassioned shouts and hard-hitting percussion build up and billow over one moment into ethereal harmonies and subtle strings the following—swelling and exploding and then finding peace all over again.

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TVD Asbury Park

The Best of Garden State Sound with Evan Toth

All jokes aside, New Jersey is a pretty great place. While it has a lot to offer as a state, it also has a rich musical history of which many people remain unaware. Everyone knows Sinatra and The Boss, but there’s much more.

Tune in to Garden State Sound with Evan Toth to explore the diverse music with connections to New Jersey. You’ll hear in-depth interviews with some of Jersey’s best music makers and have the opportunity win tickets to some of the best concerts in the state.

“The Lenni Lenape originally called it Ackingsah-sack which meant “stony ground.” Today, we know it as Hackensack—a NJ town name which has appeared in many places in popular culture, but today we research its appearance in the music world.

Additionally, we celebrate Nicole Atkins’ performance on Letterman last week, think about what it means that the Izod Center is closing, and explore a bit of Bill Frisell’s new album. Plus, I had an extra cup of coffee before the show, so I was ready to roll. Tune in!” —EZT

Support this program!
ORIGINALLY BROADCAST ON 1/20/15.

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TVD New Orleans

TVD Recommends: The 6th Annual Pisces Party at the Blue Nile, 3/3

Zodiac parties have been all the rage in New Orleans for decades. All of them take place on weekends and feature bands culled from the favorites of the party planners. The Pisces party takes a different approach. The event is during the week allowing more musicians to attend, and they feature only musicians born under the fish sign. The organizers also emphasize “Fish-anthropy,” with all proceeds donated to an area non-profit each year.

This is also the first year that the group has a true headliner—the one and only Alvin Youngblood Hart (pictured at top).

Doors at the Blue Nile will open at 8 PM with DJ Black Pearl kicking off the night, followed by a short set and spiritual blessing by spirit-led vocal group, the Yemayayas (featuring Michaela Harrison, Sula Evans, Monica McIntyre, Thea Bashful, Martha Alguera, and Margie Perez).

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The TVD Storefront

TVD Ticket Giveaway: Carpark Records 16th Anniversary Shows in NYC, 3/6, and DC, 3/7

For 16 years now, DC by way of NYC Carpark Records has been one of the finer proponents of all things indie—in sound and spirit both. In addition to a special basketball-themed picture disc to commemorate the label’s anniversary, Carpark is hosting 3 shows to celebrate 16 years of slinging some fine records our way. We have a pair of tickets to 2 of those shows to put in the hands of 2 of you, the Friday (3/6) show at Baby’s All Right in NYC and the Saturday (3/7) show at Washington, DC’s DC9.

First up however, label founder Todd Hyman was kind enough to pull himself away from the turntable to offer us some insights into the label’s inception and continued success.

“Carpark began in New York City in the late ’90s. I was working at a friend’s record store in the East Village and we started hosting a weekly DJ/experimental electronic music night at indie rock institution Brownies on Avenue A. I think a lot of people into indie music at that time felt like indie rock had reached its end. IDM/electronic type music seemed like a natural progression. Brownies still had bands playing every night but they ended them early then and began hosting DJ nights starting around 11 til closing (4am). We were on a Wednesday night.”

This kind of electronic music seemed like the future to me at the time. People making and performing music on their laptops! Seems rather mundane now, but it was brand new back then. Portable computers were finally getting powerful enough, and useful programs were finally available to the average consumer.

In addition to DJing at this night, called Invisible Cities, we hosted live music. Turned out there were quite a few folks making music on their computers with nowhere to play. We gave them a place to play. Some of the folks we hosted just to give you an idea: Marumari, Kid606, Cex, Keith Fullerton Whitman, Greg Davis, Lucky Kitchen, Kit Clayton, Safety Scissors, Jake Mandell, Zammuto, B. Fleischmann, and many others.

I thought there should be a professional label to represent this kind of music. Carpark was born!

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The TVD Storefront

Graded on a Curve: Journey, Infinity

I have always keep Journey at arm’s length, out of fear they might be catching. I lived through their glory years, when the wheel in the sky kept on turning and the lights went down in the city, and I hated Journey the way a bull elephant must hate, well, everybody. I hated them to the extent that had a passenger in my car suggested not changing the dial when a Journey song came on the radio, I would have reached over his person, opened his car door, and pushed him out. In a 65 mph zone. Journey was an MOR nightmare, a journey to the end of the blight, and they gave me the heebie-jeebies with their signature stacked vocals, songs that were impossible to get out of your head no matter what you did to dislodge them, and last but not least Steve Perry’s super-polished tenor, which just flat out irked.

But over the years my attitude towards Journey has softened. I still like to make fun of them, but call it nostalgia or the imp of the perverse, I no longer turn them off when they come on the radio. I sing along. It’s as if at some point in my past the band ran a musical train on me, turning me into one of those pussy Journey lovers I loathed. The part of me that still despises them is disgusted by the part of me that is singing along, but is helpless to do anything about it. Don’t get me wrong; I’m still no fan, but I have discovered that at their best Journey have an impressive skill at pop songcraft.

Journey was founded in San Francisco in 1973, and was made up of former members of Santana and Frumious Bandersnatch, a band best known for being completely unknown. Their first three albums, which did not include Perry, varied from jazz fusion to hard rock, the latter being most prominent on 1977’s excellent Next, which included a couple of great headbangers in “Hustler” and the instrumental “Nickel and Dime.” But they failed to break through to pop success, and on LP no. 4 (1978’s Infinity) Journey made several momentous changes; first they brought in Perry of the golden tonsils to handle lead vocals, and second they abandoned hard rock for a more commercial pop sound.

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The TVD Storefront

TVD’s Press Play

Press Play is our Monday recap of the new tracks received last week—provided here to inform your next trip to your local indie record store. Click, preview, download, purchase.

Brad Reiman – A Vacation From My Mind
Jen Wood – Run With The Wild Ones
Ellie Goulding – Lights (GAMPER & DADONI Remix)
And The Kids – No Countries
Lox Chatterbox – Tryna Smoke
They Might Be Giants – Flood Live in Australia, Full Concert
Harriet Brown – 20/15
Sur Une Plage – Minimum
stickybackplastics. – Psycho Dreamer
Daydream Frenzy – Jade’s Song

TVD SINGLE OF THE WEEK:
The Living Statues – Blackout

AU8UST – White Sheets (Produced by CRNVL)
Kill The Waves – Vow
The Landing – Back to the Stars
Mighty Mouse – Live At XOYO, London 20th Feb 2015
boerd – City Cleep
Blind Lake- Walk beside me
Echos – Dont Let Me Go (Echos Remix)
The American Spirit – Wait For The Night
Snowbride – Rooftop Islands
Galantis – Runaway (Leo Medina & Jona Prado Remix)

10 more FREE TRACKS on side B!

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