Category Archives: TVD Memphis

TVD Recommends: Bonnaroo 2013

When flagship festivals as big as Bonnaroo come along, they’re always overloaded with so many acts that plotting out a schedule seems almost too easy, but heed this warning! If you only see the big names, you’re liable to miss some good shows.

Past the acts everyone knows to see like Paul McCartney, Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, R. Kelly, Bjork, The National, festival staples like Mumford and SonsWilco, Pretty Lights, and breaking acts like Lumineers and Action Bronson, there are names that seem to blend in with the overwhelming list of notables. So here are some obvious don’t-miss picks and a little bit of a peak-under-the-radar to see what can be good show you’re glad you got to see.

Though there are plenty B+ list bands to catch, there are a few especially worth being available for. The xx are a name you’ve probably heard for a few years now. Lead member and producer Jamie xx has built a sound that mixes American indie rock with English dance sentiments. The xx has properly defined the aesthetic with their sophomore effort, last year’s Coexist. In the same fashion as the recorded material, their live show works off of equal helpings of raw performance and expert production well worth checking out.

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Hot off the Presses: Disclosure, Settle

If you haven’t been keeping up, Summer 2013 is the season of dynamic duos.

Not only did Mount Kimbie already release a fantastic effort in Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, Daft Punk released Random Access Memories, and Boards of Canada have the very much-anticipated Tomorrow’s Harvest just around the corner, but today brings with it the release of indie-dance darlings Disclosure‘s Settle.

The hyper young brothers Guy and Howard Lawrence (both ’90s kids) have built a sound based on a squeaky clean aesthetic, four-on-the-floor beats, and translucent arrangements. Commercial success was brought about by a select group of singles including “Latch (ft. Sam Smith)” and “White Noise (ft. AlunaGeorge),” both of which contain perfection in gridlocked swing and well-baited hooks.

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Bibio’s Silver Wilkinson out today on vinyl via Warp Records

Enjoy earthy tones and warm sounds?  Warp Records staple Bibio has probably made your day before and is sure to do so again with today’s release of his seventh album Silver Wilkinson.

Bibio’s effortless ability to combine analog warmth with modern-day beats creates an intriguing sound, juxtaposing crunk with melancholy. The result is a brain-feeding experience heavy on nostalgia but still full of head-nodding and the desire to flail limbs in some sort of rhythmic manner, which is what my friends accuse me of doing instead of “dancing.” Emotive and rhythmic? Yes, I’ll bite.

To promote Silver Wilkinson, Bibio released “You,” which harkens back to the warm vocal cuts on older tracks like “Fire Ant” and “À tout à l’heure,” a sparkly tape-warped pop tune bubbling with optimism. Both emphasize Bibio’s lean on nostalgic melancholy and aural texture.  On April 16, Warp released a 7″ of the latter with some uber-delicious art available through Bleep.

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Rick Steff of Lucero:
The TVD Interview

Rick Steff of Lucero has come out with a three-song EP on Archer Records, “Rick’s Booogie” (additional “o” an’ all). I caught up with him at one of the Illinois Lucero shows to talk about the makings of his EP, and what it was like to have his fellow Lucero members backing up one of his projects.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Steff is easily one of the nicest men alive anywhere, much less in music, and genuinely one of the most skilled and talented. 

What made you want to make an EP? How did it start?

Well, it started with just doodlin’ around on the piano and making these little boogies in down time and in the studio where we did Jeff Nichols’ independent film Mud, and Amy Lavere’s Stranger Me album. Roy [Berry of Lucero and Overjoid] and I had just done over a hundred pieces of music for a soundtrack for an independent TV mini-series called Head Shop, which is about a tobacco/ smoking shop that gets in trouble for selling bath salts. I don’t know if it’ll get placed. I haven’t heard yet.

So, anyway, this afforded us the opportunity to record a huge amount of music, which we’d be making anyway. So, we were in and out of that studio a bunch, which is a block from where Roy and I live, since we live only a couple blocks from each other, and there was just some down time in there, and I said, “I would like to lay down this boogie before I forget it,” so I played it, and they [fellow Lucero members] were like, “We should do something with that.” I had thought about doing a single at some point, like the old piano player EPs they did in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, ya know. I mentioned it to the band, and they all wanted to play on it, and I certainly wanted them all to play on it.

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Record Store Day at Shangri-La Records

Alright, Memphis, the weather’s nice out and pollenocalypse is seemingly over—it’s time to enjoy Spring. 

One of Memphis’s best record shops is bringing you some awesome Record Store Day celebrations this weekend, a perfect add to your agenda while taking advantage of the Razor scooter weather.

Shangri-La Records is a music store located at 1916 Madison that carries an extensive collection of varying vinyl, including loads of local releases, both new and old. This year marks their 25th anniversary, providing a more than ample excuse to go big this weekend.  They’ll be hosting a two-day vinyl celebration packed with deals, steals, and a show from a local up-and-comer.

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TVD Recommends: University of Memphis’ Blue Tom Fest, 4/6

After spending way too much money moving a statue with arguable relevance, the University of Memphis has landed on a solid cultural centerpiece to fund.

Blue Tom Records, UofM’s student-run record label, will be throwing a huge show at the University’s Memorial Field on April 6 and has booked some of Memphis’ most notable talent. BlueTomFest is bringing Memphis folk, electropop, and jam bands to UofM’s campus in an effort that will knock the school’s involvement with the city’s eclectic music culture up a few notches.

Kinda soulful super-poppy rock act Star & Micey are set to perform at BlueTomFest on a rare date when they’ll actually be home from touring in support of their most recent EP I Can’t Wait. They’ve received all sorts of hype since releasing the Dennis Herring-produced collection of songs, so the show will be great excuse to catch them while they’re in town for anyone who likes happy guitar pop.

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Vinyl Video: Grifters, “Bummer”

The Modern Memphis music scene has a unique style of architecture,  the biggest pillars of which are obscure rock icons better known for their eccentricities than their enormous hits.  A key example is early ’90s acts The Grifters.

April marks the 20th anniversary of one of band’s most pivotal albums, One Sock Missing, which rests between the sound of the band’s work in the ’80s and what their upcoming work would become.  The record garnered positive reviews from the likes of SPIN and New York Press, who rallied behind the band’s unique stripped-down slop rock and their special detail to melody and content.

In celebration of the anniversary, the band is producing videos for the tracks on One Sock Missing.  They’ve recently released the video for their song “Bummer,” and it’s something we think you should get your eyeballs on.

To get your hands on The Grifter’s One Sock Missing or any of their other albums, check out Shangri-La Projects.

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TVD Recommends: Glorie at Crosstown Arts, 3/30

Uptempo anything goes great with any night you’re four whiskey-cokes in too deep,  but sometimes you need to stop and smell the roses.  

Musical gardeners Glorie are a Memphis post-rock band who spend a lot of time, effort, and a little bit of love to carefully construct emotionally complex compositions well worth harvesting.

Earlier this month, the quartet released their latest EP “Falling.” The collection of songs is a dense patchwork of melancholic melodies and gorgeous string arrangements. Among Memphis’ clogged blues and folk genres, Glorie easily stands out with a patient and mature sound that carries a brand of emotional complexity not commonly seen ’round these parts.

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TVD Recommends: Glossary, Kait Lawson, and The Kernal at
Poplar Lounge, 3/8

Just because we’re done with Shots doesn’t mean there’s nothing left to do on the weekends.

If you’re looking for something fun and upbeat to do, Memphis is hosting one of Murfeesboro’s best bands on their way to SXSW. Glossary is playing at the Poplar Lounge tonight with some great guests—if you’re looking for some hearty guitar music on a Friday, this is the place to go.

Glossary have been reppin’ the volunteer state since their 2001 debut This Is All We’ve Learned About Living, an engaging sing-a-long effort with an indie rock lean. Since then, the quintet’s sound has evolved and matured, in the process picking up aspects of folk, blues, country, and good ol’ fashioned rock ‘n’ roll. Read More »

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Weekend Shots!

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Hey, Memphis! The most popular mid-size venue in town has closed it’s doors, so now it’s time to sit back and take bets on whose gonna fill the void. These next few weeks will be interesting. Hope you’ve gotten enough sleep—it’s time for some weekend shots!

Friday (3/1) has a show heavy on the good vibes at the 1884 Lounge from country crooner Rob Baird.  The indie upstart is three albums deep in a blossoming career with each effort further carving a unique niche in country. His sound references a long list of melodic heavy styles including ’90s alt rock and country pop, wrapped up in a tastefully balanced package worth the price of admission.  If you’re looking for a nice, easy, enjoyable evening, this is the place to be.

Also Friday, ’90s rap rocker  Kid Rock is coming to the Fedex Forum. We’d embed a youtube player, but if you don’t already have a rough idea of the Carson-Daly-era burnout-turn-country-superstar (?!), then I don’t see the need to do you the disservice.

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TVD Video Premiere: Switchblade Kid, “Switchblade 2”

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Making a video for a song is a sensible way to promote it.  Making videos for an entire album is an ambitious and creative undertaking well worthy of note.

Memphis garage/post-rock outfit Switchblade Kid is halfway through the lengthy endeavor. “I felt like it was the logical thing to do. The album came out of a singles record idea like Siouxsie and the Banshees Once Upon A TIme or The Cure’s Standing On A Beach. It’s not the MTV generation anymore, and Youtube is too damn boring with just pics of album covers and photomontages, so why not?” said frontman Harry Koniditsiotis.

Today, we premiere the fifth video from the Switchblade Kid self-titled album, for the song “Switchblade Kid 2.” Working with filmmaker George Hancock, the band used a simple setup to convey an authentic aesthetic and the group’s unique vibe.

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Festival Fast Talk
with Eliot Lipp

Hey, kids, it’s about time to break out your hoola hoops and put away all those ambitions to be hygienic.  Festival season is right around the corner, and there are 1500 bands that you haven’t heard of waiting to change your life if you only show up.

A good place to start looking for some great live music is the Head for the Hills Festival.  The little festival that can may not have your favorite pop star who’s performin’ on the Grammys, but it will be affordable enough so you can bring your own party favors. The best part? The line-up they do have is riddled with amazing musicians and experienced producers.

One act that’s getting the spotlight at Head for the Hills is an electronic producer who’s been kicking around tracks for years now—Eliot Lipp.  Last year saw the release of his album Shark Wolf Rabbit Snake, his debut on Pretty Lights Music.  I recently got a chance to talk to the electronic producer about music and vinyl.

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Weekend Shots!

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Hey, Memphis! No matter how long you stick around, you’re always bound to leave some kind of impression.

This weekend we’ll have you dancing to the beat of a different drum, doing the Memphis folk thing, and seeing the last show at one of Memphis’ most important venues.  I hope you’re off the clock—it’s time for some weekend shots.

Friday(2/22) starts off differently than you’d expect. Something you’d never expect in town, the host of one of the world’s biggest recurring dance parties is playing a set at one of Memphis’ most cozy bars.  Memphis’ own Handsome Mark has managed to bring Mr. White from his regular gig of hosting Sensation—a 40,000+ attendee dance event that happens around the world— to Mollie Fontaine Lounge.

He’ll be playing to a little more low-key crowd than usual, but you can expect the seasoned DJ  to work the space proficiently.

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Weekend Shots!

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Hey, Memphis! Regardless of whether or not the week has left your heart happy or broken, we at least hope you got stuffed on a variety box of cheap chocolate.

This weekend keeps it classy and low-key, but there are still a few good shows to see to take a date or just yourself out for a post-Valentine’s weekend.

Friday (2/15) kicks things off by reminding you that Memphis is heartily in the South with some of the most authentic country to come round these parts in two kicks of a horse heel. Wayne Hancock studied well at the churches of Hank Williams and Hank Thompson to churn out some original tunes in the true blue vein of country music’s top minimalists. This is one of the Hi-Tone Cafe‘s few remaining weeks, so be sure to swing by before it closes. Patrick Sweeney supports.

If you missed yesterday’s festivities and you want to do something lovey-dovey with your date, then there’s something just for you.  Memphis’ incredibly inoffensive and super-charming pop-rock act Wuvbirds are playing a very appropriate post-Valentine’s set at The Cove.  If you’re trying to take advantage of the holiday with a very special someone in a very shameless, cheesy way, this is definitely the place to be.

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Jason Freeman,
Hex & Hell

Vinyl giveaway, free show, burlesque dancers… Oh, and did I mention a vinyl giveaway?

Memphis bluesman Jason “Hex” Freeman is a singer-songwriter who seems to navigate the world of grimy guitar songs with ease. The results of his aural expeditions culminate in a gritty and edgy modern sound that often speaks through a filter of twangy early twentieth century blues. He’ll be releasing a collection of his tunes on vinyl this Friday, and we’ve got a copy to give away for the release. Getting a hold of one is easy, so why not throw your hat into the ring?

Friday marks the release of Freeman’s Hex & Hell at the Poplar Lounge.  Because a record release needs proper celebration, burlesque dancers will be on hand to shimmy to the hexxy vibes.  There will also be screenings of Freeman’s music videos, which tend to involve sexy women anyways, so yeah, come for some nit-grit blues and lots of really awesome curves you can look at—for the sake of music, of course.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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