Category Archives: TVD New York City

TVD Live: AC/DC at MetLife Stadium, 8/26

PHOTOS: DAVE BARNHOUSER | In the world of rock music today, there are a scant few bands still touring who can be categorized as “living legends.” The Stones. The Boss. McCartney. Yet even with the legendary history behind those great artists, none today have the sheer power—dare I say the “high voltage rock and roll”—of the mighty AC/DC. After four decades of the purest, no-frills heavy rock on the planet, the band is still at it and as heavy as ever.

On this stop at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the faces had changed a bit, but the rock stayed the same. Former drummer (Razor’s Edge-era) Chris Slade has rejoined the fold, stepping behind the kit for longtime drummer Phil Rudd, who is under house arrest due to some, well, legal issues.

The other change in the lineup, and the most disappointing one, would be the absence of founding member and band leader Malcolm Young. Retired due to debilitating health issues, the band kept it in the family, recruiting nephew Stevie Young to fill the void at stage right on rhythm guitar.

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TVD Live Shots: The Detroit Cobras at the Brooklyn Bowl, 7/18

TVD photographer Doug Seymour traveled to the Brooklyn Bowl on July 18th to chronicle an evening with The Detroit Cobras. The Cobras blend obscure rock and soul classics with a gritty charm that make the songs all their own.

Lead singer Rachel Nagy owned the stage with a rock and roll swagger that was electric. Check out the balance of Seymour’s photos below—and the Cobras live.

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Pete Donnelly,
The TVD Interview

Pete Donnelly’s musical resume is pretty damn impressive. He’s the bass player firmly associated with legendary rock band NRBQ. He’s the singer-songwriter with several solo releases to his name. He’s the co-writer of “I Can’t Imagine,” the title track of Shelby Lynne’s recently released album. And of course, he’s the founding member of phenomenal rock band The Figgs, having worked with The Replacements’ Tommy Stinson, as well as the great Graham Parker.

Along with Mike Gent, Donnelly founded The Figgs in 1987 and they are still going strong, with a recent album release that just might be their best yet. Other Planes of Here is an eight-track wonder of a record, a record that sets forth free-sounding tunes at once loyal to aurally stimulating melodies and compositionally new. While staying true to their rock-heavy roots, The Figgs have allowed their musicality to grow and their sound to evolve into one that incorporates and is influenced by a variety of instruments and genres. The result, manifested this year in Other Planes, is thoroughly, thoroughly good.

In conversation with Pete Donnelly, we learn more about The Figgs’ story and the making of Other Planes, as well as Donnelly’s numerous artistic influences and his warranted and well-articulated thoughts on the current state of the music industry.

First of all, congratulations on the new Figgs album Other Planes of Here, it’s really great. How did you devise its overall aural aesthetic? Because it seems to be a newer sound for you guys, incorporating more experimental musical components, more computerized effects.

Yeah, the Figgs certainly have an organic process. I think that we usually edit down quite a bit and focus on being sort of a pop band versus an experimental band. We tend to be tight and to the point, but we do have another side of us which is very experimental. I think in this case we decided to let it go and to not edit the process. We sort of wanted to take the audience into the process of recording, and I think the experimental side sort of opened a doorway into what gets our songs together. Often times we would edit that out of the final picture, but here we decided to leave it in.

How would you describe the band’s typical compositional process? Do you guys usually write together?

We do all kinds of things. I’d say that traditionally, Mike (Gent) and I write songs and come together in the studio or a rehearsal space, blast through a number of them and just see what clicks. As we’ve gotten older over the years, we’ve tried certain things where we’d write in the studio, come up with a theme or musical idea, just sort of experiment with it and write a song to it. It’s generally a more modern technique, making tracks and then writing to them. Sometimes we’ll have an unfinished song that one of us will come and finish. So it’s kind of anything goes. But because Mike and I write so much and come to the table with many songs, I think it’s the collaboration that makes it. Songwriting on paper is writing down a title, music, and lyrics, but the band contributes so much to, as you said, the aural picture. And I think on the new record, you can expect a lot more of that.

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Five from Five: 6/11/15

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Five from Five is our recurring feature wherein TVD’s Mike Newman—he of Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records—shares with you all of the New York-centric things that he’s digging these days, from upcoming shows, to killer albums, to much more.

1. TONIGHT! Get thee to Rough Trade NYC for the magnificent Jacco Gardner! This Dutch pop-psych maestro and his band are amazing live…and will certainly will be playing great tunes from the brand-new Hypnophobia album.

2. FRIDAY NIGHT! Michael Rault, Heaters, and The Britanys at some place on Avenue A called Berlin. You haven’t heard of it either? No yeah, there’s an air of mystery surrounding this venue and this show, being put on by Holy Underground. Anyway, it’s 5 bones and will probably rule in many ways. Get there!

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Follakzoid, III

I was just telling you about the Follakzoid show I went to a couple of weeks ago in this 5 from 5 post, and now I’ve got a copy of their latest album, III, to give away to one of you lucky TVDers…thanks to Sacred Bones Records!

“Föllakzoid began seven years ago as a trance experience between childhood friends. Their style comes deeply rooted in something much more substantial, meaningful and culturally significant, with grooves that are heavily informed by the heritage of the ancient music of South America’s Andes Mountains.

After breaking into our realm with II the group toured more than ever, playing across the world and taking in festivals such as Primavera, ATP, Lollapalooza, and SXSW. This time spent playing and experimenting solidified a deep-set musical bond that would ultimately act as the foundations for III.

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Five from Five: 5/28/15

Yo, hello. I’m starting this new Five From Five feature so I can share with you all of the New York-centric things that I’m digging these days, from upcoming shows to killer albums and much much more.

OK, not really “much much more,” because how much more do you need in life between live shows and pre-recorded jams? Not much, I would argue. And the great thing about it is we can tune out all that other bullshit people are talking about and listening to…and just concentrate on MY TASTE! (Disclaimer: other people listen to and talk about wonderful things.)

Anyway, I’ll knock it off and share with you the first Five from Five.

1. Dig this killer mind-fuck jammer, “Dutch Master,” from Brooklyn’s own Friend Roulette. Their new album I See You. Your Eyes Are Red comes out on June 2. Grab of it!

2. Annique Monet is brilliant. She’s from Florida, lives in Brooklyn, and made every sound on this album. Phantom Letters just came out last week on cassette/digi on Beyond Beyond is Beyond Records. Sit back and enjoy the “Relapse” song/vid and stream the rest of the album here.

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TVD Live: Austin Psych Fest’s LEVITATION 2015, 5/8–5/10

PHOTOS: MATTHEW TAPLINGER | I’m a dad now. I don’t have time to go to all kinds of music festivals every year. And actually I never was that big a festival-goer anyway, even before my daughter came along two years ago. But I’ve been to “the Bonnaroo” back when it wasn’t quite so corporate, and I went to All Tomorrow’s Parties the two years that they were held in upstate New York at the magical Kutshers Country Club in Monticello. Man, those two fests are about as good as it gets.

Well, I don’t fuck around much with many other festivals now…besides Austin Psych Fest. Or “LEVITATION,” to which it was simplified this year. I’ve “Levitated” there for the past four years in a row. What I think attracts me so much to this fest is how it strikes quite a perfect vibe balance between circa 2007 Bonnaroo and 2009-2010 All Tomorrow’s Parties at Kutshers.

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My first Austin Psych Fest was in 2012, the last year that it was held indoors, this time at Emo’s East and the adjoining Beauty Ballroom. It was certainly memorable enough that I’ve returned every year since, and ever since Austin Psych Fest or LEVITATION has been held at the Carson Creek Ranch, a sprawling, idyllic landscape on the Colorado River.

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TVD Live: Diiv at Baby’s All Right, 4/28

PHOTOS: JAMIE LANGLEY | Diiv does the same thing for me that the Neu! jam “Hallogallo” does; it just never gets old and propels me with momentum through busy city streets like living inside Sega.

I heard Diiv for the first time from a backyard behind the stage at a Mexican restaurant turned venue for the week at SXSW 2013. Some friends had just played, and we were taking refuge from the chaos back there. The moment I heard the 2 guitars passing their delicious hooks back and forth and looping around one another, I went back in to have a proper listen. I watched their set from behind and was really taken by them.

The music has a lightness and delicacy mirrored in the men themselves, quite petite and drowning in giant T-shirts, but they come across strong, purposeful with intention, and I just love all those guitar hooks and melodies which take up plenty of space that I never question the minimal vocals.

Alex, of course, already knew all about them and might have even known Cole from Beach Fossils, I forget, but regardless the vinyl was a staple of 2013 in our home. “Druun” and “Air Conditioning” off their debut full length Oshin still come up on my iPhone shuffle, and I never skip them.

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TVD Live: Trans Am, Zombi, Jonas Reinhardt at Baby’s All Right, 4/18

PHOTOS: JAMIE LANGLEY | If you had asked me at any point over the past decade or so whether I know of Trans Am, I would have answered: YES. LOVE.

Thus when I saw they were playing Baby’s All Right last Thursday, I made a deliberate note on the calendar and insisted we go even though Alex and I were also playing a show that night. We threw our gear in the car, ditched it at our practice space, and hustled over to Baby’s to catch Zombi half way through their set.

I am embarrassed to admit, at first glance I assumed Zombi was Trans Am. There were not so many people on stage and the drummer was solid, which is what I mainly remember about Trans Am, and they had that electronic-rock vibe. But they took a more expansive drone toward the end, which clued me in, and also when Alex laughed at me. His relationship with Trans Am runs deeper than mine. Back in 2004, Alex and his roommate spent a two-week period watching Wimbledon on mute while listening to Trans Am. Good times.

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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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