Author Archives: Josh Lewellen

TVD Video Premiere: David Messier, “Keeping Up With Fashion”

“The theme of the video is ‘The Fun of Fashion and The Diversity of Beauty’—that’s what I kept saying as we were working it all out. I wanted the fun of a fashion show but not the homogeneity. I wanted EVERYONE to have their runway moment. It’s easy to hit your news feed right now and think that we’ve become somehow less inclusive. I just won’t believe that’s true and I wanted to show the other side—the world how I see it. Teresa Jolie, the director, has such a great eye and I trusted her to bring that vision to life. She nailed it. I think everyone looks glorious, even the musicians.”David Messier

With his solo career now off and running, David Messier appears to be busier than ever. Apart from formerly fronting Boston band Papermoon, Messier also acts as the owner of Austin recording studio Same Sky Productions as well as the President of the Texas Chapter of the Recording Academy. In other words, it becomes quite plain to see that Messier possesses a well-rounded ardor for his craft, one that is focused on a broader sense of the term creation.

With his first full-fledged LP, Waiting for Eldridge, released back in February of 2016, Messier now turns to the visual side of things with multiple music video releases. Critically acclaimed by local Austin radio station KUTX, Waiting for Eldridge presents an eclectic mix of Americana and rock ’n’ roll with some welcome folkie fixings, a combination that is rather apparent on the following tune: “Keeping Up With Fashion.”

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

Record Store Day’s
Michael Kurtz and
Carrie Colliton,
The TVD Interview

An event that is now all but ubiquitous, the annual celebration-cum-gathering that is Record Store Day has, in its decade-long existence, proven to be the great watershed for the vinyl revival of the twenty-first century.

Conceived of in 2007, this worldwide get-together is an all-encompassing shindig for both independent record stores and the record-crazed themselves, with shops across the globe participating in special releases and a plethora of in-store performances, which is to say nothing of the music titans who have carried the torch for Record Store Day as ambassadors over the years, such as Iggy Pop, Chuck D, and Dave Grohl.

Hot on the heels of RSD’s tenth anniversary event this April 22nd, we talked with co-founders Carrie Colliton and Michael Kurtz about the day’s history, their favorite releases, and some plans for the future.

So, since you guys got this up and running in 2007, this is the big tenth anniversary, isn’t it?

CARRIE: It is. Our first one was in April of 2008, but we had this idea in September of 2007. Having done it ten times now, I can tell you that the idea that we thought of it in September and did it in April is astounding to me. It’s a year-round process now.

I would assume there’s going a little something extra thrown into the mix for the event this year?

CARRIE: We try to do that every year, throw something extra into the mix. There are great releases and in-store performances. Everything is kind of amped up a tiny little bit.

Could you give me a sense of where the numbers were at in terms of vinyl sales at that time? Vinyl was really on its last legs, was it not?

MICHAEL: I think it was in the hundreds of thousands of releases. It was less than a million dollars a year. I think we’re up to a billion a year now.

Would you say the effects were rather immediate?

MICHAEL: Well the first year, there were only about ten releases. There were almost no independent labels involved because nobody had the confidence to produce records because it’s so expensive, and I think that’s been the side effect of Record Store Day. This residual buildup of confidence over the years has led to everyone producing records with the expectation that they will sell.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

Lenny Kaye,
The TVD Interview

Of all the names contained within the storied history of rock and roll, few have contributed more to the tradition, and done so in a greater number of ways, than Lenny Kaye.

Alongside the inimitable rock and roll poetess Patti Smith, Kaye has taken up lead guitar duties for over four decades now, infusing sanctified albums such as Horses and Radio Ethiopia with driving riffs and licks to go around. As a producer, Kaye has manned the helm for a great deal of his recordings with Smith, even producing their debut single of “Hey Joe / Piss Factory” on his very own Mer Records, as well as worked with underground folkie Suzanne Vega on a number of albums.

Through his writing, Kaye ups the ante for all so-called dual threats. Though he has contributed to many of the Patti Smith Group’s most enduring songs, such as the reggae slab “Redondo Beach” and the experimental title track to Radio Ethiopia, his writing as a music historian and critic is every bit as vital and essential.

Rising to initial prominence as one of the original rock writers, Kaye contributed to every music publication imaginable over the course of the 1970s, from Rolling Stone and Creem to Melody Maker and Crawdaddy. Unlike some of the more self-aggrandizing members (who shall remain nameless) of the early intelligentsia, Kaye maintained a quality to his writing that was just as pithy as it was lyrical. Whether he was attempting to summate the rise and fall of Hendrix or waxing poetic on the latest and greatest Stooges LP, he always made certain to place the music front and center. Plus, he remains one of the select few critics from the period to not completely execrate Zeppelin, but more on that later.

There’s also this little thing called Nuggets. Perhaps the most influential collection of music ever assembled, Kaye’s 1972 compilation of eclectic gems from the mid-to-late ’60s rock and roll renaissance presented the raw energy of the period at its finest and boldest, providing the blueprint for countless bands to follow, including a great many of the acts to emerge from the New York City punk circuit in the latter half of 1970s.

The Patti Smith Group is currently at work in the land down under, and we caught up with Kaye just before the southbound journey to talk the usual suspects: Nuggets lingo, 45 fairs, free jazz, and music journalism.

You’re more than likely aware of this, but I feel obligated to mention that the Aussies were putting out some absurdly great rock and roll back in the ’70s with groups like Radio Birdman and the Scientists, so it’s no surprise that you’ve got a nice little following down there.

Totally, and I’m going to do a couple DJ nights there playing what they call obscure ’60s garage rock, even though I don’t think it’s probably as obscure as some of the collector fiends would like. But yeah, I’m going to DJ and they seem very receptive to the sounds of classic, high-energy rock and roll.

I think it’s absolutely dumbfounding how the songs you had on that collection were so overlooked to the point where they needed reviving in the first place.

Oh, it’s amazing, but the music was changing so quickly then. It came out in ’72 and the latest song on there, by the Nazz (“Open My Eyes”), was from ’68. Things were changing very rapidly, where something that just came out a few years ago seemed like a part of ancient history. It was great to put it together. I didn’t have the long distance hindsight that probably would’ve made the record less interesting. I would’ve made it more “garage rock” as opposed to these kind of weirder things, like Sagittarius or even the Blues Project. A lot of it falls outside the parameters of what we’ve come to define as garage rock.

But, y’know, I was just feeling my way and not really sure that Elektra would even put out this album, so I was just having some fun and putting a lot of my favorite songs that seemed to fit together in a concept called Nuggets, which was kind of an open-ended concept the way Jac Holzman gave it to me. I was there and I had an opportunity. I didn’t invent this music, I just appreciated it, and it continues to live on, amazingly enough.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

Richard Thompson,
The TVD Interview

Tracing the steps of a career along the lines of Richard Thompson’s is a fool’s errand any which way you cut it.

Between his eccentric mode of guitar phrasing, which bears an inimitable precision that has made for an uncountable number of acoustic flourishes and electric demolitions over the years, and a penchant for lyrics that can be described as anything from spiritual and acerbic to despondent and crazed (“Roll Over Vaughan Williams” might as well be called “Live in Fear”), Thompson’s singularity is twofold.

Through his time in Fairport Convention, Thompson, alongside many of England’s heavy hitting musicians such as Sandy Denny, Dave Mattacks, and Simon Nicol, helped to reenergize the country’s folk scene into a fusion-based hotbed, suffusing traditional British and Celtic ballads with rock and roll in a profoundly novel manner. Between works like their self-titled debut album and what is perhaps the outright nexus of late ’60s folk, Liege and Lief, Fairport played an integral role in carving out a place for both acoustic and electric folk music as art.

This theme would be taken to perhaps its greatest lengths in the 1970s, and into the early ’80s, by the Island Records triad of Thompson, John Martyn, and (however briefly) Nick Drake. Thompson and then-wife Linda Thompson embarked on a masterful, decade-long string of albums which included I Want to See the Brights Lights Tonight, Pour Down Like Silver, and their final effort Shoot Out the Lights in 1982. From here, Thompson went solo and has managed a balancing act of the acoustic and the electric ever since, releasing some of his most beloved compositions along the way, such as “1952 Vincent Black Lightning” and “Beeswing.”

Regarding prolificacy, the longest spell between solo albums is a matter of four years, and that’s dating back to his 1972 LP Henry the Human Fly, whose continued obscurity is nothing if not criminal. In other words, Thompson has never been one for considerable time off, and we’re all the luckier for it.

His latest acoustic tour of America is just about underway, and we managed to get ahold of Thompson for a quick chat about, you guessed it, the old Sound Techniques studio in Chelsea and seminal ’60s baroque poppers, the Left Banke.

Did you know that “Calvary Cross” was just used back in November on an American TV drama called This is Us? To hear it on a primetime show was jarring to say the least.

I didn’t know that, but I’ll actually earn money from it so that’s a good thing [laughs]. Yeah, they’ve always got certain shows like Crossing Jordan where they really like to find interesting soundtracks, but for the most part it’s kind of bland and cheap.

Speaking of soundtracks, what was it that convinced you to get on board with doing the one for Grizzly Man?

I’ve always been a big Werner Herzog fan, so the chance to work with him was very exciting. Because I knew Werner’s producer, I got kind of the in to do the soundtrack. It was a very interesting project.

How involved was Werner with the recording process?

He likes to be fully involved in the music for his films. He was always either on the studio floor or in the control room so he was there for pretty much the whole of the soundtrack.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | 1 Comment

TVD Video Premiere: Tree Machines,
“Waiting On the Sun”

The brainchild of two Kansans now out and about in LA, Tree Machines are on the verge of a follow-up album to their inaugural 2015 EP, a collection of songs highlighting the ennui of small-town Midwest living, something that Lawrence natives Douglas Wooldridge and Patrick Aubry, the duo in question, may have grown accustomed to over the years, but have since hitched a ride to the City of Angels, trading in Mass Street for a Canoga Park garage.

Their upcoming debut album Up for Air arrives this year, and if the first single off the LP is any indication, Wooldridge and Aubry are seeking to cast a wide net. Driven by visions of Los Angeles, which is made even more apparent in the accompanying lyric video dominated by drone-captured, colorless images of the cityscape and shoreline, “Waiting On the Sun” amounts to an extended vocal-synth crescendo of hope and illumination at the prospects of a new day.

Though the lyrics are quick to remind that darkness looms here just as in any other place, the song retains a musical brightness which never forsakes the inevitability of that titular light rising again.

Wooldridge and Aubry certainly bring a bit of Kansas to LA, and they possess a keen understanding of their new whereabouts, but it’s never in question that the two are aiming for a clarion call of universal intent, one to curb the loneliness that hangs over most every soul in high and low places

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

Radio Birdman’s Deniz Tek, The TVD Interview

To be sure, it’s a rare occasion when entire music scenes are ignited by an individual, and it’s even rarer when said artist just so happens to be an expat from Michigan immersed in medical studies nearly ten thousand miles across the planet, which is a roundabout way of saying Deniz Tek ranks among the most transformative figures in the history of Australian music.

Hailing from the rock ’n’ roll capital of the world, Ann Arbor, Tek was groomed on the frenzied sounds and performances of local pioneering groups such as the Stooges and the Rationals before making the permanent move to Sydney in 1972. It was here that Tek set out to create a band so uncompromising in both power and energy that the mainstream contingent of the country would be utterly confounded and, just maybe, incensed. The result was Radio Birdman.

Formed in ’74 by Tek and fellow outcast Rob Younger, Radio Birdman quickly emerged as the preeminent rock ’n’ roll band in Australia, and it’s only fitting that the name itself is the product of a misheard Stooges’ lyric. With Tek as the chief songwriter and lead guitarist, the band seamlessly coalesced the essential components of Motor City rock with the equally feverish speed and style of surf music to establish a sound that remains completely unique and nonpareil. Following releases of the EP “Burn My Eye” in ’76 and the absolute blitz-of-an-album Radios Appear the following year, the band ended up label-less and financially abandoned, extinguishing their future plans and leading to a wealth of different projects for all involved.

Tek would soon form the Visitors and then, alongside Younger and Birdman bassist Warwick Gilbert, the Sydney-Ann Arbor supergroup known as New Race, which included two pivotal names (and heroes to Radio Birdman) in rock history: Ron Asheton of the Stooges and Dennis Thompson of the MC5. Egregiously, though intentionally, short-lived, New Race put out just a single live record documenting a month-long tour in 1981 before its members opted to pursue other endeavors.

Between his return to the medical world as a US Navy flight surgeon and continued music projects with Deep Reduction, the Deniz Tek Group, and the lost experimental group Glass Insects, Tek maintained a tight schedule to say the least.

In 2006, Radio Birdman reunited to record for the first time in almost thirty years, creating Zeno Beach, and, after a solo hiatus in the latter half of the 2000s, Tek returned to the studio with Career Records, producing two solo albums, Detroit in 2013 and Mean Old Twister just this past year. Moreover, his recent collaboration with the Stooges’ James Williamson, Acoustic K.O., is due out in just a couple of weeks. Paired with some nonstop performing in Europe, as well as an Australian tour with Radio Birdman in June, Tek is still doing more than his share to keep the flame alive.

We recently caught up with him to discuss everything from vinyl lathes and the Sydney scene that Birdman revolutionized to the fabled history of his Epiphone Crestwood and a late ’60s Detroit radio station with a penchant for Captain Beefheart.

It’s definitely tricky to keep everything straight considering just how diverse your activities have been over the years. I’ve always been curious as to when you actually started serving as a flight surgeon in the Navy. Was it just after your time with New Race?

It was, yes. The New Race tour was in April and May of 1981, and I started flight surgeon school on the first of July, so it really was right after that.

I know you were in medical studies at New South Wales right before Radio Birdman got going, so was it always on your radar to go into a related line of work at some point or another?

Well I never expected to be able to earn a living playing music. I realized early on that the kind of stuff we were doing was never going to be commercial, and I had no desire to conform my songwriting or playing to anybody’s idea of a marketing plan. I was always going to need another job, let’s put it that way.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

TVD Video Premiere: Brahm, “Midnight Wolf”

It’s been close to ten years since the ASR-10 keyboard maestro Brahm has released a full-length album, but judging by his latest sci-fi concoction, Ratimis, the decade has been put to just the right use. Released on Swedish Columbia this past February (2/24), the concept album revolves a future defined by an overwhelming absence of media, with just a single enigmatic broadcast station remaining intact.

Easily the most ‘80s-esque song off the LP, “Midnight Wolf” is an electronic slab of nocturnal energy. Pairing a lurking synth line with the far-off call of a guitar, the intro gives way to a steady progression of slow-pulse drum machine and moody sax work that wouldn’t be out of place in a Badalamenti score, which is quite fitting when taking the tone of its music video into consideration.

For this visual piece, Brahm joins forces with the underground experimental horror savant that is Damon Packard, and the results are nothing less than a pitch-perfect collaboration through and through. Containing anomalous, perplexing imagery of Lynchian proportions, driven by the shadows and whirled lights of late-night Los Angeles, the footage seamlessly accompanies the brooding dynamism of “Midnight Wolf,” as the faces of wayward souls, doused in purple and smoke, linger for just long enough to implant themselves within the mind.

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

Still fuckin’ doing it: The Real Kids’ John Felice

Allow me to clarify one thing from the start—there are rock masterminds, there are Rock Masterminds, and then there’s John Felice.

By the age of nineteen, Boston-blooded Felice had not only formed the renowned Modern Lovers with next-door neighbor Jonathan Richman, but, following his departure, he had also laid the foundations for what was to become one of the most high-powered, balls-to-the-wall aggressive rock ’n’ roll bands to ever do it: The Real Kids.

Merging the lean, no-frills songwriting of the mid-’50s rock and rollers with the sheer energy of punk rock (though never mistake them for a punk group), the Real Kids stormed through the ’70s and into the early ’80s with a surefire combination of fabled, manic live performances and two altogether outstanding albums, the first being their immortal Red Star label debut, The Real Kids, and the latter being the no-less-excellent, though consequently overshadowed, Outta Place.

Naturally, in a world where the Misunderstood got ousted after recording six songs and Big Star couldn’t release an album without it getting shelved, widespread stardom sidestepped Felice and company. Though they amassed an unwavering European fanbase, one which continues to be fiercely devoted to the band, the Real Kids opted to hang ‘em up for a spell.

Which is not to say that Felice took anything close to a genuine hiatus. Following a series of one-off, incredibly obscure projects with the Lowdowns and the Devotions in the late ’80s and ’90s, Felice revived the legendary outfit, leading to an immediate return to raucous form. Between frequent touring and the long-awaited (something of an understatement) 2014 release of Shake Outta Control, a semi-follow-up to their original Red Star LP, the band continues to dish out some of the greatest rock ’n’ roll music in the known world.

On the heels of the latest of many European tours, set for France and Spain this time around, along with a new record due out sometime this summer (and another already in the works), Felice remains as occupied and prolific as ever. I caught up with him to discuss, well, a little bit of everything.

So first thing’s first, I’ve always found it strange that the word “punk” gets applied so often to most everything you’ve ever done, the first album in particular.

I’ve been dealing with that for a long time. We were called a punk rock band before it was ever a term you’d hear, before there was a punk rock movement. ’74 was the first time I heard it applied to us, and at that time, I don’t remember ever hearing of a punk rock scene even though I’d seen the Ramones in ’74. Nobody was calling it a punk rock scene. And then all of sudden people were calling us a punk band. I couldn’t understand it but I stopped fighting it after a while. The energy that punk bands have, I’ll take that, but it’s all the other shit, the political attitude, the fashion attitude, all the crap that seemed to go along with the punk rock scene. I could never relate to any of that stuff. But the energy? That I could relate to.

Look at the Stooges and the MC5. People like to say Iggy and Fred Smith and all of them, people try to say they were the first big punk heroes, as if they were trying to invent it.

Those guys had no idea what punk rock was. Even after it had been around for a few years, I don’t think those guys would’ve had a fucking clue, nor did they care. I don’t think they were trying to invent anything. I met Iggy a long time ago and he just seemed like a smarter-than-average, Midwestern kinda guy, whereas the others—I met Fred Smith and Scott Asheton when we played in Detroit in ’76. They were crazy motherfuckers, the kind of guys that would bite off the necks of beer bottles and shit, but they weren’t trying to be punk rockers or anything at the time. They were just crazy rock ’n’ roll guys. I don’t understand what that overriding need to label stuff is about. It doesn’t really serve a purpose to me. And most people get it all wrong [laughs].

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | 2 Comments

Needle Drop: King Bee, “Hot Pistol”

When the conversation turns to the forgotten band that was King Bee, which it, admittedly, never does, it becomes quite clear that one mono inferno begets another. In other words, a person cannot speak of King Bee without alluding to Dead Moon. Long-revered (at least in these northwestern parts) as the irrefutable sovereigns of the underground punk arena, Portland’s rock ’n’ roll triumvirate, apart from creating some of the most hard-driving and soul-throttling music this side of Detroit, possesses a founding legend like no other.

Formed in ’88 and composed of husband-wife duo, Fred and Toody Cole and late drummer Andrew Loomis, the band was, and is, the truest manifestation of its leading lo-fi mastermind’s essence and vision. The lore surrounding Fred Cole’s road to the status of rock ’n’ roll baron, though heard by far too few, is profoundly warranted, not only because it’s as serpentine as journeys come, but given the newfound rarity of bonafide tales of onerous toil and perseverance among rising bands, the story now rings even more compelling.

Above all, the fact remains that just about every group Cole assembled over the years put out more than its fair share of unthinkably masterful rock ’n’ roll, no matter how brief a tenure.

Cole first emerged at the age of fifteen as the leading man of Deep Soul Cole under the moniker, the “White Stevie Wonder,” a descriptor that would be utterly and demonstratively abandoned amidst his turn towards rock music. As the 1960s progressed, Cole made a living laying it down for lost garage outfits of the era such as the Weeds and the Lollipop Shoppe, whose single “You Must Be a Witch” ranks among the finer high-pressure psych-garage tracks to come out of the tradition’s heyday.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment

TVD Premiere: Shane Henry, “Save Me”

“‘Save Me’ is a song of a spiritual battle about being on the run from the devil. The song certainly gives a nod to the story and music of Robert Johnson.”Shane Henry

With upwards of six independent releases dating back to 2000, Shane Henry has steadily worked toward the blues-pop fusion achieved on his latest single and upcoming eleven-song album, Light in the Dark, due in stores on April 28th. Having performed alongside numerous legends such as B.B King (over 30 supporting gigs) and Buddy Guy as well as soul royalty, Etta James and the Neville Brothers in particular, Henry’s blues acumen speaks for itself.

In small town Oklahoma, the Beatles and Hendrix found him first, but these early influences soon gave way to the Claptons and the Reddings of the world, setting Henry on an unwavering course towards a promised land of blues and soul.

Read More »

Posted in The TVD Storefront | Leave a comment
  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


  • 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 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