Category Archives: TVD New York City

TVD Live: Blackberry Smoke and The Temperance Movement at Webster Hall, 3/28

In the year 2015, it sometimes seems difficult to locate real and true rock and roll that’s new and isn’t just a regurgitation of rock and roll from the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. This difficulty can be accounted for by any number of elements—auto tuning, the decreasing influence of record companies in the world of musical artistry, and MTV.

A while back Portlandia put forth a brilliant take on what had happened to MTV by placing a pre-teen girl in its leadership position as explanation of its ideological demise. The difficulty in question is just that however, a difficulty—not an impossibility. This past Saturday night at Webster Hall in New York City serves as exhibits A through infinity to attest to this latter fact.

Blackberry Smoke, having released four studio albums since its start in 2000, is most often described as a “southern rock” band, which it is—but this categorization seeks to minimize the band when it should be maximized and subsequently lauded. Blackberry Smoke is a straight-up rock and roll group. The band’s sound is derived from lead singer and guitarist’s Charlie Starr’s spot-on command of each song performed, along with support from fellow guitarist Paul Jackson, bassist Richard Turner, keyboard player Brandon Still, and drummer Brit Turner.

Holding All the Roses is the group’s latest release, and a number of tracks were showcased at the Webster Hall gig, including “Let Me Help You (Find the Door),” “Rock and Roll Again,” and “Living in the Song.” A terrifyingly gorgeous rendition of the group’s emotionally melodic work-of-art-track, “The Whippoorwill” would have stolen the show—if surprise guest Robert Randolph hadn’t stepped out to contribute to “Ain’t Got the Blues.”

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: The Myrrors,
Arena Negra

Myrrors_cover

Yo friends, we’ve got some killer brand-new vinyl to giveaway to one lucky winner. Today’s platter is a psychedelic slow-burner from Tucson’s psych-drone shamans, The Myrrors. It comes out on March 24th and the band plays this year’s Austin Psych Fest presents Levitation festival in May. I’ll let Ryan Muldoon of Revolt of the Apes fill you in on the band and this record…

“There’s more than a hint of mystery surrounding The Myrrors, the impossible-to-define sonic-shaman hailing from the Tucson, Arizona. The mystery, however, feels far from manufactured—it would appear to exist naturally within the band’s collective DNA, a double-helix of third-eye vision that informs their every note. Certainly, there’s something mysterious about the band’s first album, Burning Circles in the Sky, given that it was recorded “sometime in 2008” (as stated by The Myrrors themselves), but only saw release late in 2013.

And there’s something mysterious about the constant hum of activity that has defined the band in the months since Burning Circles was released—a hum that includes adding two more releases to their fast-growing catalog, along with an invitation to appear at “Levitation,” the 2015 incarnation of Austin Psych Fest.

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TVD Recommends: Austin Psych Fest’s Levitation

Austin Psych Fest has a new name for its annual flagship musical gathering in Austin this year: Levitation. And let me tell you, I’ve been to the last three phenomenal outings, and this one in May is looking like their biggest doozy yet, especially with the recent announcement of the 50-year reunion of pysch forefathers, the 13th Floor Elevators.

APF has always done a fantastic job at curating a mind-blowing mix of psychedelic newcomers, tried-and-trues, and classic psych acts, and this year is no different—maybe other than the fact that APF has decided to drop the “psych” tag and simply call the fest Levitation, perhaps a way to shake the shackles of feeling confined to present everyone’s definition of “psychedelic.”

Over the last few years, as psychedelic music has become more popular via the successes of such acts as Tame Impala, Thee Oh Sees, Ty Segall, and The Black Angels, many music fans who have much more rigid ideas of what’s classified as “psychedelic” have been at odds with trying to pinpoint “true” psychedelic acts and write-off others who fall outside of their definition.

But APF has always remained aloof to those types and go out of their way to present the best and most diverse festival experience for the open-minded music fan. I think no matter where you stand, whether you’re more of a shoegazer, a pop-psycher, garage-rocker, or a far-out experimental music fan, you are gonna get what you need at APF’s Levitation. And you’ll certainly get turned on to something new.

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TVD Recommends: Carrie Ashley Hill and Xander Duell at Baby’s All Right, 2/9

Brooklyn based recording artist Xander Duell will be performing music from his highly anticipated second solo record, Wade Laiste, which will be released by the Swedish artist collective known as Ingrid (helmed by Lykke Li, Miike Snow, and other luminaries) internationally in March 2015. The record’s first single, “Earth on its Axis,” is available on iTunes. Xander’s wild previous effort, Experimental Tape No.2 Vol.1, was released by Mexican Summer in 2011.

The experimental nature of Duell’s music rears its head in style and content atop songwriting that touches the emotional core without hesitation or regret. There is joy and sadness here, electronics and guitars, grandeur alongside the neon-lit sleaze. Calibrate your expectations appropriately on this one, but be prepared to have them shattered by this outsider work, in the spirit of Scott Walker’s numbered albums and the prime cut of ’70s soft rock.

Carrie Ashley Hill hails from Texas and also calls Brooklyn home but wrote her first song from a much different place, literally stranded in Trinidad, Colorado. “Hill’s love-weary voice recalls breathy country legends like Emmylou Harris and the resolve of Stevie Nicks,” noted the Village Voice.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Invisible Familiars, Disturbing Wildlife

We’ve got a super-cool vinyl giveaway for you today from a fantastic new Brooklyn band called Invisible Familiars. The band may be new but the man behind the band is anything but new to the music world. Talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jared Samuel has made his living playing music and supporting a variety of NYC artists—from Sharon Jones to Martha Wainwright, and most recently, Cibo Matto, and The Ghost Of A Saber Tooth Tiger.

Samuel retreated to the seclusion of a houseboat docked in Jamaica Bay to write the music and words that would become Disturbing Wildlife. “It was the first time I’d ever spent more than one day completely by myself,” said Samuel, “wondering just exactly what is real and then, ultimately, feeling fine.”

Invisible Familiars premiered this debut album, Disturbing Wildlife, via BrookynVegan prior to its release on Tuesday, January 27 and you can stream it all here. And you can order a copy via Other Music Recording here.

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Ty Segall releases first playable vinyl 3D glasses

tysegall

Ty Segall and record label Famous Class have just released a double 7-inch vinyl single, which just so happens to double as a pair of 3D glasses! With the new “Mr. Face” EP, pressed on translucent red and blue-colored vinyl, you just look through the records to activate the supercharged 3D artwork.

The first pressing is already sold out but you can order a copy from the second pressing right here. And you can stream the four tunes on Famous Class’ Bandcamp site and find that the music is the usual killerness we’ve all come to expect from Ty.

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Quintron and Miss Pussycat at Baby’s All Right, 11/29

When I was a fresh young thing at art school, we would lay around on the floor and listen to Flossie and the Unicorns, whale sounds, and watch early internet animation like Miss Muffy and the Muff Mob. I was obviously high and the inter-web was just getting going as I learned to write HTML code, so one can imagine my jaw on the floor when Miss Pussycat rolls the puppet show out and I hear her voice. FLOSSIE?!?!

Yes, friends, I found out Saturday night Miss Pussycat is Flossie and the Unicorns, and I saw her puppet show LIVE for the first time—16 years later. It was a bake-off (thus sparking my memories of Miss Muffy) and the burnt hair covered demon cake won! The crowd cheered as the stuffed long red tongue licked the little cake from the giant face sewn into the backdrop. It is all just too delightfully psychedelic to even attempt to describe, so I won’t try. I’ll just say it was perfection, and I adore you Miss Pussycat.

Typically with Baby’s, I am merely passing by on my way home to have a quick drink with a friendly bartender, and I’m drawn into some amazing unexpected show; this was no exception and might take the cake, pardon the pun.

After the little demon cake and teddy bear who baked him exited the stage, it was time for Quintron and Miss Pussycat—a solid hour and a half, maybe longer, of dance mania and one man creating a cacophony of sound. He eventually is shirtless, sweating profusely never stopping for a second, playing everything at full throttle: keys, triggers, drum loops, guitar sounds, bass lines from an organ with the microphone crammed in his mouth, wind blowing from somewhere, fist pumping, crowd surfing, dance jams.

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TVD Live: Ray LaMontagne at the Beacon Theatre, 11/14

For those of us who are retrospectively inclined music-wise, last Friday night at the Beacon Theatre was a dream come true. Ray LaMontagne put on a show akin to those we might imagine were performed back in 1971 when guitars reigned supreme, or perhaps back in 1968 when light shows were still a thing.

The collective emotions produced by those onstage and off vacillated between groove-yourself-into-feeling-good and self-reflect-yourself-into-feeling-reverent. Whatever end of the spiritual spectrum one found oneself on at any given moment during the concert, it was the hip place to be.

LaMontagne and his backup band, which included the excellent brother-sister duo The Belle Brigade (who also provided a stellar opening act of their own tunes), offered up selections from this year’s far-out(!) album Supernova; “Lavender,” “She’s the One,” “Airwaves,” and the show-stealer “Supernova” (the song) were of note. Ray’s greatest hits canon made up a large part of the show’s set list as well; “New York City’s Killing Me,” “Trouble,” “Repo Man,” and “Jolene” gradually generated eureka moments.

The best bit of the concert may just have been the acoustic set halfway through, when LaMontagne and his musical director, slash one of the wow-est bass players around, Zachariah Hickman, went to town on the best of Ray’s ballads. Stripped down and bare, the songs’ power was more immediate, and LaMontagne’s understanding of and allegiance to the history and evolution of the rock-pop-folk (ropolk?) singer-songwriter was undeniable.

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TVD Live: Residual Kid at Baby’s All Right, 10/25

Rock ‘n’ roll is not dead and will never die.

Meet Residual Kid from Austin, 14 and 16-year-old brothers Max and Ben Redman holding down the rhythm section, and 16-year-old front man Deven Ivy.

We were walking the dog Saturday morning past Baby’s All Right and Alex popped in to check the vibe for the big Brooklyn Vegan CMJ day party and on stage there were 3 kids jamming.

At first glance he thought they must be the children of one of the sponsors having fun, and we were told a great band was playing at noon, so we took the dog home and came back.

To our pleasant surprise, these kids were the band, a perfect 3 piece, power-pop, grunge garage band. A good, old-fashioned shred-fest performed with the ease and grace of the most seasoned of road dogs complete with a collection of solid songs, especially the last one, ripe with breakdowns and vocal hooks. We have no idea how the 3 got so good so young, but we are psyched for what’s to come for them.

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TVD Live: Life of Agony at Starland Ballroom, 9/13

 
In 1993, the world of heavy metal was in flux. Grunge had entered the scene and helped give birth to the “alternative metal” genre, one that tended to be an amalgamation of various metal styles. One of the commercially less successful but critically lauded bands, both by press and fans, was Brooklyn, New York’s Life of Agony.

Their debut album, River Runs Red, and its follow-up, 1995’s Ugly, contained some of the most raw, emotional, and harrowing lyrical content, coexisting with thick, heavy riffs that spanned styles from hardcore to slower sludge metal. After calling it quits in 1999, the band has reunited a couple of times and drifted back apart again. The time felt right once once more, and there was no venue more appropriate than the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey for the occasion.

 
We arrived at the venue, said a few hellos, and after a few conversations, acquired a perfect spot at stage right. The show, which had sold out very quickly, was packed tight with fans eager to witness the reunion. We arrived right after opener Diablo Blvd finished, but the feedback I heard from people during and after the show was very positive.

A Pale Horse Named Death was up next. Led by Sal Abruscato on vocals and guitar, he was pulling double duty for the night, as he’s also the drummer for Life of Agony. One interesting dynamic about APHND is that in the band are two former drummers of gothic metal legends Type O Negative—Sal, and Johnny Kelly who took over on the drums in Type O when Sal left to join Life of Agony in 1993. Looking on in the crowd during the set was Type O guitarist Kenny Hickey—tonight was a night of multiple reunions.

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