Monthly Archives: January 2014

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m taking a deep breath on the final day of January. We certainly did charge into 2014. Oh so much has gone down since the first of the year. Giant waves and giant weather. The Grammys have now come and gone. What looked like the year of the horse could end up being the year of “the hat.” (Thank you Pharrell Williams for making this year’s very flat Grammy awards bearable.)

No mind, along with several days of hazy brilliant sunsets, we’ve been treated to an onslaught of great new records! 2014 is not fucking around as this week’s show features great new releases from Damian Jurado, The Black Lips, Damon Albarn, Nicole Atkins, St Vincent, Jake Bugg, as well as LA area bands, Nick Waterhouse, Dum Dum Girls, Allah-las, and Together Pangea.

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TVD Live: Lucius at
Club Dada, 1/28

PHOTOS: HANNAH AMBROSE | There are bands that put out a pretty good record. There are those that put on a pretty good live show. Then there are those that blow your mind with the way they kick ass at both.

On that note, Lucius might just be one of the most kickass groups to come along in a while.

Their sound is both high-energy pop and wispy folk, both resoundingly modern and refreshingly vintage. Imagine a cross between Tegan and Sara and Fleetwood Mac, but inspired by the pop rock of the Beatles and the soul of Sam Cooke, laced with infectious hooks and spiked with killer ‘60s-era vibes—and wardrobe. Delicious.


Since the October release of Wildewoman, Lucius’ debut LP via Mom + Pop, the Brooklyn-based group has taken no precautions in turning some pretty important heads and proving themselves a force to be reckoned with. Their magnetic pop has received glowing reviews from the likes of Rolling Stone, Paste and NPR, among others. Heck, even Bob Boilen himself is a fan. Disclaimer: this review is, clearly, no less laudatory.

That being said, Lucius’ performance at Dallas’s Club Dada this Tuesday was nothing short of brilliant.

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TVD Recommends: Yojimbo at the Maison, 2/1

I first saw Carly Meyers, the trombonist of Yojimbo, performing with the Mike Dillon Band at Tipitina’s late last year. Due to that commitment, this is their first engagement in New Orleans in a while, though the band has been together about four years. 

Yojimbo takes their name from the classic Japanese film by iconic director Akira Kurosawa. The group was formed by Meyers, Adam Gertner (drums), and Doc Sharp (keys). Bassist Patrick McDevitt joined about a year ago. McDevitt and Gertner also play in the Mike Dillon Band.

Meyers is a dynamic front woman; a whirling dervish on stage who wields her trombone like a dance prop when she is not blowing long tones and fat solos. She plays through a variety of effects including a wah wah pedal.

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NAMM, bam,
thank you ma’am!

This last weekend, Zachary James, guitar player Stevie Campos (of the Starlight Band) and I checked out the 2014 NAMM show—one of the world’s largest trade-only business shows.

It’s basically Disneyland for gearheads and signature guitar dudes in Anaheim, which is where Disneyland is.

On a random side note, we met Fred Armisen chillin’ and fillin’ at our local Silverlake gas station on the way there! Nice! Stevie thought it was so nice, he gave it two thumbs up. I just wanted to share that.

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TVD Video Premiere: Neil Nathan Inc.,
“There Is No Time”

Neil Nathan Inc. pays homage to Lou Reed and Andy Warhol in his latest video for his cover of “There Is No Time” from Lou’s classic New York LP.

“I love reinterpreting classic songs,” says the artist who stripped down ELO and The Move’s “Do Ya” to its barest essence and got Jeff Lynne’s blessing for it to appear on the Californication soundtrack. Neil brings the rock on this one with a vitriolic lead vocal that lends itself well to Lou’s scathing socio-political critique.”I’ve always loved Lou Reed’s New York LP and “There Is No Time,” “Dirty Blvd.,” and “Strawman” are just timeless songs. Those lyrics are even more relevant today. “There Is No Time” is obviously a very welcome addition to the rest of the tunes on my power to the people concept record.”

“I was in pre-production on a few different ideas for the video when Lou sadly passed, so I started thinking more about the lyrics in terms of Lou Reed as a songwriter, performer, and artist, which brought me back to The Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol. When I began revisiting Andy’s pop art, I was shocked at how much of it thematically linked up with the lyrics to the song. And the concept was born.”

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Graded on a Curve: Slayer,
Divine Intervention

You’ve got to love a band that has been accused of Nazism, Satanism, Christian-baiting, glorifying serial killers, and advocating Jihad, not to mention poking blind orphans with sharpened sticks. Personally I don’t think they’re guilty of any of these accusations, except the last named, which has been thoroughly documented. But as one of the blind orphans told CNN, “We really rather enjoyed being poked with sharpened sticks. And they were careful to avoid our genitals.”

I’m talking, of course, about Slayer, Huntington Beach, California’s finest contribution to haute rock couture since The Vandals of “Power Mustache” and Live Fast, Diarrhea fame. If there’s one thing I love in this life it’s a great guitar solo, and listening to the mesmerizing solos of Jeff Hanneman—who tragically passed away in May 2013 at age 49 as a result of alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver—and Kerry King I feel like I’ve died and gone to Hell (Heaven doesn’t allow guitar solos, just massed harps playing easy listening renditions of David Coverdale songs.)

Since Slayer’s 1981 formation, the multiple-Grammy-winning (which I try not to hold against them) thrash metal band has released 11 studio LPs including 1996’s Undisputed Attitude, an album of hardcore covers which is great even if it does include Minor Threat’s very iffy “Guilty of Being White,” which I find offensive although Ian MacKaye’s no more of a racist than Slayer are a bunch of Nazi lovers. Slayer has also released two live albums, two EPs, and two boxed sets, not to mention a collaborative EP with The Captain and Tennille, Muskrat Love Torture and Death.

Anyhoo, I am here today to speak of the utter brilliance and sublimely monstrous tones of Slayer’s sixth release, 1994’s Divine Intervention. It is not an album; it is a lightning strike straight to the solar plexus, and I am personally willing to gird my loins and go to battle, dressed like one of the doofi in Manowar (what was Ross “The Boss” Friedman of the immortal Dictators doing with those morons, anyhow?) to defend it.

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TVD Live: Reverend Horton Heat with Nekromantix and The Creepshow at the 9:30 Club, 1/26

PHOTOS: KRISTIN HORGEN | When you talk about the psychobilly genre, one of the first names always mentioned is Reverend Horton Heat. Like a hot bowl of Texas chili, their music is a delicious combination of flavors—a heap of rockabilly, a dash of punk, equal parts country and rock, and a generous amount of humor. Their style is distinctive, and their live shows are not to be missed.

With the new album, Rev, out on shelves, The Rev wrapped up this leg of their tour at the 9:30 Club in DC with a show that was one for the books.

Starting off the night was Toronto’s The Creepshow, in their first-ever DC appearance. (They had previously only come as close as Baltimore) Storming onto the stage with “Creature of the Night,” the horror-tinged punkabilly rockers quickly won over the crowd. Bassist Sean “Sickboy” McNab was slapping and spinning his double bass, while the Reverend McGinty’s organ, which was unfortunately lost in the mix at times, added a brilliantly eerie element to their music that sets this band apart.

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TVD Live Shots:
Pine Barons at Kung
Fu Necktie, 1/26

According to their Bandcamp, Pine Barons are “Children of the Forest; Conceived by the roots.”

I believe it. I saw it. I heard it with my own ears at Kung Fu Necktie last Sunday. The New Jersey born quartet was reeling out much more than just their roots though. A mix of every genre I’m not even going to bother naming couldn’t even describe the sticky magic that drips out of their instruments and coats the inside of your ears.

It’s songs like “Telescope” that will catch your immediate attention with its eerie groove and heavy breathing, and “Carnival” that will hold it with its rainbow filled lyrics and remind you there’s more to this band than writing a catchy melody.

The so-called Children of the Forest closed out their set with the last song from their self-titled debut, “Don’t Believe What They Told You,” taking listeners through a series of beautiful piano chords that have you feeling like you’re moving in slow motion. Only to end with a heart pounding chorus of “JESUS CHRIST’s” that will leave you curious as to what the fuck just happened and compulsively longing for more.

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The House of Blues celebrates 20 years in New Orleans

It’s hard to believe that it’s been that long, but the national chain set up shop on Decatur Street in the French Quarter in January 1994. It was Superbowl weekend too!

Yesterday was the anniversary of the actual grand opening to the public, but for a full week prior the club held private parties for nearly every segment of the tourism community. There was a special night for musicians; there was a hospitality night, and even a night for taxi drivers.

I was fortunate to have attended most of these events in my capacity as the music writer for the Louisiana Weekly.

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UK Artist of the Week,
The Fire And I

Rocking in straight from Scotland, this week’s Artist of the Week is one that hones pure rock and electric energy—The Fire And I. There has been many a successful rock duo in times of yore, but The Fire And I have the edge that will literally blow your face off.

Live, the band have been heralded as somewhat of a spectacle, wowing audiences with their raw, frenetic performances—playing as two for them means double the power and nothing less. This can be heard on their forthcoming album Double Kamikaze which boasts fourteen songs full of crazy highs and intricate instrumental moments that will leave you with hairs standing on end.

The boys have already headlined the prestigious T in the Park and played with everyone’s favourite Scottish rock exports Biffy Clyro, but now they’re making a mark with this second album, showing folk what they’re truly made of.

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Oh, Be Clever,
The TVD First Date

“The first record I ever got my hands on was Elton John’s Greatest Hits. My dad got it for his 17th birthday back in ’75 and wanted to show me what a true artist was.”

“I think I was probably about 7 or 8. I had JUST started to realize that I was actually good at singing, and my father and I shared a special bond over music. He loved to share his love and passion for art with me at all times, and show me his favorite vocalists that inspired him, and in turn inspired me.

The first song he played me off that record was “Candle In The Wind.” I remember that feeling I had listening to the lyrics sink deep into my soul and hearing the age that only time brings to vinyl like that.

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Shell Zenner Presents

Greater Manchester’s most in the know radio host Shell Zenner broadcasts the best new music every week on the UK’s Amazing Radio and Bolton FM. You can also catch Shell’s broadcast right here at TVD, each and every Thursday.

“On this week’s show my ROTW is Chiaroscuro by the wonderful I Break Horses. I’ll be playing three gorgeous songs from the album.

I’ll also be chatting to Gary from The Cribs about their career in music, working with producers such as Edwyn Collins and Alex Kapranos, and also where they go from here. There are two albums in the pipeline for 2014 as Gary reveals.

There will be the usual accompaniment of new and emerging music as I spin some of the best new Alt releases. Love music? Don’t miss it…” —SZ

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Graded on a Curve: Pimps, Players &
Private Eyes

Compiled and produced by Ice-T and Jorge Hinojosa, the 1992 collection Pimps, Players & Private Eyes offered a healthy dose of full-bodied and progressive ‘70s Soul culled from the frequently-elusive soundtracks of an oft-maligned film genre, and it functioned simultaneously as a history lesson and a fountain of deep groove. Issued in multiple formats (though apparently not 8-track tape), its judiciously chosen 10 songs fit perfectly on a trim vinyl record.

The track-list of Pimps, Players & Private Eyes features no duds. But just as importantly it holds three standouts; their strategic placement seals the LP’s worth and makes the integrity of the compilers abundantly clear. To some this might not seem like a big deal. I can only assume those who feel that way have little or no experience getting stuck with compilations that appear to contain great potential but are ultimately revealed as major disappointments.

Stuffed with second-rate cuts randomly sequenced, records of this nature can often end up taunting the owner through the bogus claims of enticing sleeve design. That Pimps, Players & Private Eyes’ jacket is an utter beauty exuding no false promise obviously increases the robustness of the situation, but its greatest strength is derived from the varied concision of its revelatory offerings.

Or more accurately, revelations once offered, for nearly all of the soundtracks excerpted here have seen subsequent reissue. Additionally, within a few short years of this album’s release, the majority of the movies could be purchased or rented fairly easily as a byproduct of the VHS retail boom. But in ’92, as part of the then (and to an extent, still) disreputable action/grindhouse Blaxploitation phenomenon, videotapes of Across 110th Street were scarce (at least in my neighborhood), as were copies of the movie’s soundtrack.

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Forgotten Songs:
The Case of Scott Fagan
and Stephin Merritt

BY MARK SWARTZ | My literary orientation tilts me toward a certain type of song. No doubt, there’s a certain genius to a great Hair Metal ballad or country weeper, but the pop mode that appeals to me most is bookish and clever, with the pros and cons that the latter adjective connotes. Bob Dylan of 1966-1974 is the genre’s Zeus, with Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell, Lou Reed, Elvis Costello, and David Byrne all firmly in the pantheon. Bill Flanagan’s 1987 collection of interviews Written in My Soul canonizes most of them.

Stephin Merritt is probably Generation X’s greatest exponent of literate pop. Principally known for his work with the Magnetic Fields, Merritt also leads the Gothic Archies and the Future Bible Heroes, and some of his best songs are on the two albums by the 6ths that feature a rotating cast of vocalists.

The first Magnetic Fields song I encountered was a 45 I picked up in 1996 on the strength of the cover. The couplet that led off the chorus hooked me immediately.

All the umbrellas in London couldn’t stop this rain.
And all the dope in New York couldn’t kill this pain.

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Johnny Stimson,
The TVD First Date

“I remember the first time I listened to a record on vinyl. I mean really listened. I had heard records before (duh) but I really experienced the inaugural listen in college.

“My roommate got a record player from his parents for Christmas our Junior year. He put it in the kitchen by the microwave. Anyway, the important thing is that they also gave him Abbey Road, Sgt. Pepper’s, and the Return of the Jedi soundtrack.

We listened to the back half of Abbey Road for an entire evening together. It was magical. It was crackly. You had to put a needle on it. It was inherently groovy. I remember the way “Golden Slumbers” sounded so different from my click-wheel iPod. So warm. More the way it was supposed to be. But it was also a delightful reason for us to just sit and listen to our favorite album together.

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