Monthly Archives: February 2015

TVD’s The Idelic Hour with Jon Sidel

Greetings from Laurel Canyon!

I’m enthusiastically working hard this week. My take on the music biz, or “the grind,” is that all of this is work, so every now and then I’ll take a break to count stars and dream of magical destinations. This week’s hour-long playlist is the soundtrack to one of those destinations. In my mind, it’s tropical.

Speaking of stars, my sister-in-law won an Oscar last Sunday. Even though I see Patricia only now and again, I am actually very proud of her and honored by her grace.

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TVD Live: The Dodos at the Black Cat, 2/24

The Dodos do not feel like a two-man act. For a band that relies so heavily on so little—a drum kit, guitar, and vocals—they fill the stage with their energy and the venue with their indie, at times somewhat folky, sound.

In addition to displaying incredible talent on the two instruments that make up their band, Meric Long and Logan Kroeber seemed to have great fun with the audience—bantering about the cupcakes that were waiting for them backstage, gently mocking an audience member for unhelpful song requests, and dedicating “Black Night” from the album No Color to all the people in the audience who go running in the negative degree weather (thanks by the way guys, it’s chilly out there). Waiting for Long to tune after a guitar change, drummer Kroeber thanked the crowd for the “warm” welcome, noting that this was the band’s first snow day of the tour.

And the welcome was indeed warm. The audience head bopped along and joined in shouting “HA!” and “HEY!” in all the appropriate places, especially getting in to “Competition” off the band’s most recent album Individ and “Confidence” from Carrier.

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Ryan Cabrera,
The TVD First Date

“I actually didn’t truly discover the beauty of vinyl till I was about 21 years old when I found my mother’s childhood record collection in the basement of my grandma’s house.”

I grew up with cassette tapes and whatnot but when I found that collection, it changed the way I listened to music forever. The first record of hers I played was the Woodstock performance and was obviously blown away. I dusted off every vinyl she had and took them home with me and a new sound was born in my ears.

Now when I’m home, my passion for the classics grows and grows every day ’cause I put ‘em on at night by the fireplace and play ‘em thru my Gramophone.

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The Louisiana Music Factory celebrates one year on Frenchmen St.


On Saturday (2/28), expect to spend the whole day in the Faubourg Marigny as everybody’s favorite record store presents live music from 1-6 PM along with lots of camaraderie and freebies.

The Louisiana Music Factory has been around since 1992 and this is their third location after over twenty years in the upper French Quarter. The business is settling into a neighborhood teeming with music and music fans.

A recent visit last Saturday was a typical afternoon of in store performances. I arrived in time to catch the whole set from the 79ers Gang—a new Mardi Gras Indian group featuring chiefs from the seventh and ninth wards (hence their moniker). A large crowd swayed and clapped as the two chiefs alternated vocals and raised a mighty racket despite the fact that Carnival was already in the rear view window.

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The Single Girl: Hawk, “Clock Hands” EP

London folk noir four piece Hawk have finally released their beautiful EP “Clock Hands,” an explorative five track piece of art. It’s an EP that kisses you sweetly good night and haunts your dreams like a dark lullaby.

Prevalent throughout are Julie Hawk’s stunning vocals which are the band’s ace in the hole. Unlike Daughter, St Vincent, or other female artists and female led bands, Hawk are a unit, they are a real band and a stunning one at that.

“Clock Hands” stabs you in the heart like a shadowy fairytale, it’s poignant and emotional. “Hush” however is the backbone of the EP, it’s a sound that the band execute perfectly—the thin veil between post-rock and noir folk that has had some tongues wagging online. In fact, it’s this sound that would probably best serve the band going forward as they end in a less memorable note with track “Guardian,” a track that’s a little folkier and has less direction than the rest.

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Graded on a Curve:
The Heroine Sheiks:
Rape on the Installment Plan

I have a bad feeling that no one is going to read this review. But that’s not my problem. My problem, or I suppose it’s more of a gripe about a gross injustice, is that Cows/The Heroine Sheiks frontman Shannon Selberg has never gotten his just desserts. Minneapolis’ clamorous Cows put on the best live shows I’ve ever seen, and Selberg remains the most entrancing front man I’ve ever seen dominate a stage. Add a slew of wonderfully scabrous Cows’ LPs full of noise rock classics like “Hitting the Wall,” “Dirty Leg,” “Walks Alone,” “Allergic to Myself,” and “Cartoon Corral” and you’re left to wonder, “What does a maniacal genius have to do to become famous around here?”

Because the great American listening public repaid Cows (and its successor, The Heroine Sheiks) by consigning them to the fringes, along with other great bands from the Midwest like Killdozer, Halo of Flies, and Scratch Acid. It peeves me, it does. Here was an intelligent madman who wore a skinny penciled-on handlebar mustache, mousetraps on his ears, and a horrible wig beneath a battered cowboy hat but never cracked a smile. Instead he would puff out his skinny chest and belligerently stare down the audience, like Joe Pesci saying, “What’s so fucking funny about me?” Never in my life have I encountered a human being so simultaneously amusing and downright menacing.

When Cows took a metaphorical captive bolt pistol to the forehead in 1998, Selberg relocated to New York City and took a stab at acting before founding The Heroine Sheiks, a very different glass of milk from the brutal onslaught that was Cows. Selberg supplemented his trademark bugle with a cheap toy keyboard, and proceeded to produce songs that were less pummeling than slinky and slyly insinuating, although the band didn’t completely abandon noise rock. I remember speaking to Selberg by phone about The Heroine Sheiks’ debut album, 2000’s Rape on the Installment Plan (an homage to Louis Ferdinand Celine’s darkly hilarious novel Death on the Installment Plan), and he told me, I believe in all sincerity, that The Heroine Sheiks’ aim was to “put rock back in the fucking business.” Indeed, he predicted that their debut CD would become a make-out masterpiece, the next Let’s Get It On.

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In rotation: 2/27/15

“Industry Sets Friday as Global Record Release Day.

“Clueless Soundtrack Set for 20th Anniversary Vinyl Reissue: Special edition of the alt-pop heavy compilation will be printed on yellow and black plaid vinyl

“RIP Mammoth Cave Recording Co. or Why An Indie Label Can’t Survive in 2015: After 7 years and 44 excellent releases, the Canadian independent label home to B.A. Johnston, Ketamines, and a trove of vital punk reissues has called it quits.

“…Kevin Cheesman, from Milton-under-Wychwood, is organising the town’s first record fair in more than a decade. He hopes the renewed enthusiasm for vinyl sweeping the UK will mean fellow music-lovers turn out for the turntables…”

“Checker Records coffee journeys by Brew Crew: Local coffee shop Checker Records gives Volume Salon’s Kim Holtz the boost she needs to start her mornings right. The beloved hybrid record and coffee store, winner of the Hillsdale Daily News’ People’s Choice Award four years in a row, hooked Holtz on coffee.”

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Mariage Blanc:
No Autobiography Biography

“I met Josh in 2006 when we were both 22 years old. We had a lot in common, including the fact that we were both aspiring musicians who hadn’t really accomplished much yet in terms of meaningful musical output. We formed Mariage Blanc in 2007 and it seems almost surreal to me that the last seven and a half years have passed by so quickly.”

“Anybody who has ever been in a serious band at any point can tell you that it’s not unlike most of the other relationships people experience in the different realms of their lives: you bask in some pretty amazing times and endure some pretty low times, as well. Members come and go over the years, weaving in and out of your life. Dynamics change and so do the people involved. I can say without any hesitation that my involvement in this band over the years has been one of the most meaningful experiences of my life, coming second only to my relationships with my fiancee, family, and friends.

A lot happens between your early 20s and 30s. During our time as a band, I’ve watched myself and my bandmates grow dramatically as both musicians and people. Invariably, this growth is accompanied by change. We came face to face with one of these changes when Josh and his fiancee made the decision to move from our native Pittsburgh to San Francisco last summer. It was a scary time for us. Josh and I have always had an understanding that we would continue this band until one of us is ready to stop, and while we were both fairly certain that the move wouldn’t mean the demise of the band, it was obvious that everybody (including myself) was nervous about the logistics of it all. Some friends and family were supportive about it; others seemed to doubt the likelihood of continuing a band under such circumstances.

For us, though, the bottom line was clear. We weren’t ready to stop, so we weren’t going to.

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Amy & The Engine,
The TVD First Date

“The first records I remember holding in my hands were Canned Wheat by The Guess Who and Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes Featuring Veronica by The Ronettes. Growing up, I was constantly exposed to classic rock and girl groups of the ’50s and ’60s, thanks to my dad’s eclectic record collection. With Motown melodies and classic rock guitar riffs filling my brain, I knew from an early age what I loved about music and what I wanted to carry over into my own songs.”

“I’ve always admired the straight forward love songs of the ’50s and ’60s, and the melodies and harmonies used to tell the stories. I think our first single, “Last Forever,” is my take on blending my classic rock roots with my love for the sugary melodies and sentiments of ’50s and ’60s pop.

Diana Ross and The Supremes’ Let The Sunshine In… I’ll admit, I was first drawn in by the cover art (I’m a sucker for pretty packaging and labels), but once the needle touched down, I was hooked. I still have that record in a box under my bed today.

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TVD Recommends: The
Royal Potato Family artists at the Blue Nile tonight, 2/26 and 2/28

The Blue Nile helps you get a head start on festival season with two shows this week from artists with releases on Royal Potato Family Records. Marco Benevento plays Thursday night with Mike Dillon opening and Wil Blades returns on Saturday night.

Benevento is an adventurous keyboardist who is no stranger to New Orleans. Though his appearances tend to be around Jazz Fest, the last time I saw him was in late September 2013, which was a sold out show at the Blue Nile. He played with DaveDreiwitz on bass and Andy Borger on drums. Both will join him again on this tour.

During that performance, he mostly stuck to piano, but added some interesting effects that added up to a really big sound.

Mike Dillon opens the show tonight. He will feature Claude Coleman Jr. and JJ Jungle.

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UK Artist of the Week: Fable

Fable releases her latest single “Silence Myself” this week—a smokey slice of slow rising pop, which makes Fable our seductive Artist of the Week.

The track is a complete departure from Fable’s usually more energetic performances, but it doesn’t make it any less captivating. The video is simple but effective as Fable hardly breaks eye contact throughout, bewitching us, taking over us completely, and she knows we’ll be back for more.

It’s hard to imagine her only being 19-years-old as her voice and spirit emanate an older soul. There’s a confidence about Fable. She’s already written alongside artists Paul Hartnoll (Orbital) and Russell Lissack (Bloc Party) and she’s about to support Archive in London, a testament to this confidence and the road ahead—we predict big things.

“Silence Myself” was released yesterday, 23rd February 2015, via 74 Music.

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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 here at TVD every Thursday.

“My ROTW is from a band I Interviewed at The Great Escape in Brighton three years ago and they were so hung over the nearly threw up live on air! Spectres release their magnificent debut album Dying shortly and NME awarded it a 9/10, it’s THAT good. You can hear three slices of it pre-release on my show tonight, so make sure your ears are arranged correctly.

This week’s #Shellshock is from Sleater-Kinney. If you were lucky enough to get tickets for their UK tour then I’m MEGA JELS.” —SZ

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Graded on a Curve: Eternal Tapestry,
Wild Strawberries

Contemporary psych-rock veterans Eternal Tapestry practice in a branch of the style favoring seriousness of intent over faux-druggy tomfoolery. The Portland, OR group has scads of releases, but their newest considerably ups the level of ambition; Wild Strawberries, the band’s first 2LP, was recorded in a remote cabin over the course of a week and suitably finds them traveling into the aural wilderness. It’s out now on Thrill Jockey.

In tandem with the hippie movement’s proclivity for drug intake, the 1960s are designated as the apex of psychedelia. I’m not going to disagree, but I will add that most of the groundbreakers in the style took qualitative nosedives sooner rather than later by abusing not just substances but tropes swiped from blues, R&B, and to a lesser extent folk and country.

Some will decry it as heresy, but there are multiple units operating in the psych field right now that are the equal of their ‘60s antecedents, and one is Eternal Tapestry. While a few lineup changes have occurred over the years (notably Dewey Mahood leaving to dedicate his creativity to Plankton Wat), Eternal Tapestry currently consists of Nick Bindeman on guitar and vocals, Warren Lee on organ, Krag Likens on bass, Jed Lindeman on drums, and I’ll speculate Ryan Carlile is still around on sax and synth.

They’ve amassed a hefty discography, much of it on Thrill Jockey, though Guru Overload, a benefit for the Borneo Orangutan Survival Foundation, came out last year on the Oaken Palace label. Wild Strawberries widens their scope not only in number of sides but in execution, and in psych terms it easily fulfills expectations of sessions conducted in a cabin located in a burg known as Zigzag.

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In rotation: 2/26/15

“The Record Shops of New York, Co-op 87 Records: While the rest of the industry worries about MP3s kicking the chair from under the high street chain and streaming services looming over the shoulder of digital downloads, vinyl is enjoying a revival. Why? Your humble independent record shop…”

“A Huffington Post analysis of the most “wildly popular” types of stores in each state concludes Louisiana has a disproportionally high number of vinyl record shops. The analysis, conducted by the news website in collaboration with Yelp, suggests the state’s musically engrained culture—and perhaps New Orleans’ reputation as a hub for vinyl-loving hipsters—has helped carve out a retail niche…”

“Mill City Sound: New Hopkins record store contributing to vinyl boom…”

“Inside Retro-Vibe Music in Cardiff, a vinyl lover’s dream: With a massive 2900 sq ft of floor space, Retro-Vibe Music in Cardiff has two floors stuffed with thousands of pieces of vinyl, CDs, 78s, tapes, T-shirts, turntables and comics…”

“Rare vinyl records…are to go under the hammer at a Newbury auction tomorrow (Thursday)…A record in near mint condition of the Sex Pistols God Save the Queen (1977) in its original A&M sleeve, the property of a former employee of the record company, is estimated at £6,000 to £8,000…”

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Wednesdays at the Square announces
2015 lineup

Though the weather outside shows no indications of an early thaw, signs of spring are in the air. Louisiana citrus has disappeared from area farmer’s markets and the Young Leadership Council announced on Tuesday the eagerly awaited lineup for its perennially popular Wednesday afternoon concert series.

Marc Broussard, Irma Thomas, Dumpstaphunk, Marcia Ball (pictured at top), and The Revivalists are among the headliners for the 12-week concert series, beginning Wednesday, March 11, 2015.

Digging a little deeper into the lineup reveals some interesting combinations of performers. On Wednesday, May 6, Meschiya Lake opens for Earphunk. Read More »

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