Tag Archives: FEATURES

Elephant Stone:
The TVD Interview

We talked with psych-pop favorites and innovators of “Hindie Rock” Elephant Stone, in the hot summer sun of Austin Psych Fest—well, actually in the cool comfy rocking chairs of the Artist tent—to discuss the band’s latest self titled record, their US tour with The Black Angels, and well, vinyl.

Vocalist, bassist, and sitar genius Rishi Dhir and guitarist Gab Lambert spill it all in the TVD Interview.

Recently, I asked the band SUUNS this same question since you guys are both from Montreal. Is there a psych scene coming out of Montreal?

Rishi Dhir: Montreal is funny, it’s been so conditioned by Arcade Fire and the Arbutus Records scene. I can’t say there’s a big psych scene in Montreal. No Joy is kind of shoegaze-y, Besnard Lakes are shoegaze-y, I think Suuns are probably the most “psych” band in Montreal.

Yea, they’re kind of a totally different monster…

RD: Yea, the stuff they’re doing… no one else is doing that. It’s not pop. We do pop, we’re a pop band.

You guys do pop so well. You do a great job of integrating some psychedelic aspects, but at the heart of it Elephant Stone is a pop band. 

RD: It’s funny, I posted a video on our YouTube account and someone commented that us, The Black Angels, and Tame Impala are their hope for music right now. One guy writes “Yhese guys are nothing like Tame Impala or The Black Angels, this is shitty pop music.” I posted back, “Yes, it is pop music, so what?” Some people are so closed-minded. Tame Impala is pop music too. I posted the video so when I replied to it was my name, and this guy is hiding behind a pseudonym, so he knows it’s me responding to him. It’s funny how trolls like that work.

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TVD Live: New Orleans Jazz Fest, 5/2–5/5

More rain, some of the coldest days ever experienced at the Fairgrounds, an inexplicable late opening, and schedule adjustment couldn’t come close to dampening the spirits of hundreds of thousands of festers. Here’s a look back at the second weekend of the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

After a week of wet weather, everyone expected a slog through a swampy bog at the Jazz Fest, and they weren’t wrong. Lakes of water and rivers of mud filled most of the New Orleans Fairgrounds on Thursday morning when the gates opened.

I spent much of the day at the intimate Jazz and Heritage stage where I saw often compelling and occasionally transcendent sets from the Black Seminoles and the Spirit of the Fi Fi Yi Mardi Gras Indians as well as the Forgotten Souls Brass Band.

The Fi Yi Yi and their associates, the Mandingo Warriors, released their first album this past week and it is an unexpected treat because it features top-flight New Orleans musicians joining the Indians.

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TVD Live: New Orleans Jazz Fest, 4/26–4/28

The first weekend of the 2013 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival featured one of the most crowded days ever when Billy Joel graced the Acura stage, two gorgeous, low humidity days, and a torrentially rainy day that created a swampy bog that was barely dried up a week later. Here’s a look back.

Friday began with a scorching set from the New Orleans Suspects and ended with the fascinating musical hybrid that is the Mardi Gras Indian Orchestra. The group features a who’s who of musicians and backing vocalists, Big Chief David Montana and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes.

What makes the group even more special is the addition of alternative stringed instruments, namely the cello of Helen Gillet and the fiddle of Harry Hardin (pictured above). The two classically trained musicians dug deep into their respective instruments, and gave the music an added depth. In the back, guitarists Sam Hotchkiss and Camile Baudoin were stellar as were bassist Reggie Scanlan and drummer Kevin O’Day.

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Five questions with photographer Michael Weintrob

New York entertainment photographer Michael Weintrob is debuting a pop-up art gallery during Jazz Fest called InstrumentHead, a surrealist portrait series where legendary musicians pose with their instruments covering their faces. In connection with the Frenchmen Art Market (2121 Chartres Street), the gallery will showcase 75 InstrumentHead icons to be sold as limited-edition fine art prints. 20% of the proceeds will go to New Orleans charities.

Eric McFadden of Parliament Funkadelic, Rob Mercurio of Galactic, Eric Bolivar (Anders Osborne), Nigel Hall, and DJ Logic will perform live at the grand opening Thursday, April 25 at 7 PM.

You have created over 250 unique images of musicians posing with their instruments in front of their faces as part of your InstrumentHead collection. What was the original inspiration for such a unique concept?

When I work with musicians in the studio, I try to do things that spark emotion. By asking people to put instruments in front of their face changes the mood and creates a level of fun during the shoot. One of the first times I did this was in 2006 when I set up a portrait studio on Jam Cruise. I was shooting George Porter Jr. from the Meters and he agreed to do it. That image actually made it into his CD that came out the next year.

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Some thoughts on French Quarter Fest

Weather was a factor on two of the four days, but even torrential rains on Thursday and massive thunderstorms on Sunday before the fest started could not deter thousands upon thousands of people from the music in the French Quarter.

Organizers continue to tweak the set up, and this year upper Decatur Street was closed to vehicular traffic, which theoretically opened up more space for pedestrians. However, adding a stage in the odd triangular intersection where Decatur and N. Peters diverge heading uptown caused additional, perhaps unexpected, problems. This area was completely gridlocked on Saturday. Chairs were set up in the middle of the street.

Another problematic issue is the haphazard way that pedestrians, some clearly intoxicated, bicycles and bike taxis navigate the wide-open lanes of Decatur. My suggestion would be some temporary bike lanes since it’s only a matter of time before there is a serious collision between people on foot and on people on two wheels.

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Posted in TVD New Orleans | Tagged | 1 Comment

A giant send-off for Big Chief Iron Horse

For the last two weeks since Cyril “Big Chief Iron Horse” Green passed away at the young age of 46, Mardi Gras Indians have been gathering nightly to perform the ancient rituals and remember the chief. Yesterday, April 2, 2013, over 30 Indians in suits and hundreds of mourners gathered to celebrate his life.

The setting was the historic Our Lady Star of the Sea Catholic Church in the St. Roch neighborhood. The hearse and a limousine were parked out front. Each vehicle had a poster on the back celebrating the chief’s life. Dozens of friends and members of the extended Indian community gathered on the steps and across the street. The church itself was filled to overflowing.

Around the corner and on various side streets, members of numerous tribes including the Fi Fi Yi, the Hard Head Hunters, the Young Cheyenne, the Red Hawk Hunters and Green’s gang, the Black Seminole, donned their massive suits.

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TVD’s St. Joseph Day Three Handy Tips

Even though the rest of the city is all atwitter about St. Patrick’s Day and the many parades and parties, Mardi Gras Indian aficionados are more excited about the St. Joseph Day celebrations.

Every year the Indians parade on the Sunday before St. Joseph’s, which happens to fall this year on St. Patrick’s Day. They also parade on St. Joseph’s night—this coming Tuesday.

The festivities begin on Sunday at A.L. Davis Park, formerly known as Shakespeare Park, on the corner of Lasalle and Washington Avenues in Central City at 11 AM. The parade doesn’t begin officially until 1 PM. I say officially, because times often deviate from what is announced.

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TVD Live: The Quickening at Tipitina’s, 2/23

All things happen for a reason in music. Guitarist Blake Quick used to be in Flow Tribe. Now he’s not. But, he has a new band, the Quickening, and I had the opportunity to see them grace the stage at Tipitina’s.

His new band is decidedly different in instrumentation and sound than his previous ensemble. He still relies on a horn to add texture to his sound, but this time it’s a single trombone played with aplomb by Jon Ramm. He soloed admirably and punched up the arrangements in a style that was reminiscent of the work of Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews with his band or Corey Henry with Galactic.


However, the sound of the Quickening is more open and lyrical than those two bands that tend towards rock and funk respectively. Quick’s songs, which he plays with characteristic unpretentious grace, evoke an earlier era in music. Dare I say, the 1960s? Read More »

Posted in TVD New Orleans | Tagged | 1 Comment

Anthony Cozzi of
Radar Eyes: The TVD Interview and Vinyl Giveaway

On a chilly Chicago Sunday, I had the chance to talk with Anthony Cozzi, front man of Radar Eyes—a band that has been a huge part of the Chicago garage rock scene for some 5 years now and who are just a few days short of the one-year anniversary of their vinyl debut on HoZac Records,

Anthony offered some insight into his songwriting, the home recording process, and the direction the band is heading. We also reminisced about growing up in the south suburbs of Chicago, our favorite record stores, and how the music industry is easily not what it used to be.

I’ll admit I’m fairly new to you guys. I don’t know how you weren’t already on my radar but I first heard the song “I Am” a few weeks ago when the band Asteroid #4 posted it on their Facebook page with the tagline “Wow…sometimes something comes along where even we’re like…’ok, that’s fucking amazing!’”

I was pretty much hooked from there. I played it 4 or 5 times in a row and then immediately searched out some of your other songs. By the time I heard the track “Miracle” I had bought the album and a 7” from HoZac.

Nice! Glad you like it. Some of those songs were recorded over 2 or 2 ½ years ago now; some of them were recorded about a year ago. We’ve had some of them written for about 4 years though.

So, this album had been in the works a long time. It’s been a year since the Radar Eyes LP came out, how do you feel about the past year and the reaction to the album? Was it well received?

Yeah, better than expected for a home recording. I actually was not super satisfied with it but I just had to be done with it. I did all the basic recording myself, did the mixing, did most of the overdubs… It got a little crazy for me.

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Posted in TVD Chicago | Tagged | 4 Comments

A look back at Mardi Gras 2013

Fat Tuesday dawned misty with a threat of rain hanging in the air like the Mardi Gras beads that linger for months on overhead power lines. With the exception of a few brief showers, the rain never materialized.

Our first stop was for the Society of St. Celia parade in the Faubourg Marigny. This group was formed when the Society of St. Anne parade got too big. Musicians including Dave Sobel, Robert Wagner, Alex McMurray, and the spirit of the late Hart McNee gathered in front of Feelings Café before the parade headed into the French Quarter.

A block away the Krewe de Suess was making a magnificent racket with their homemade musical contraption (pictured above).

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