Monthly Archives: June 2015

Celebrate Deacon
John’s 75th birthday
at Tipitina’s, 6/27

This Saturday night the musical chameleon “Deacon” John Moore will be celebrating a milestone with a performance at Tipitina’s with his long-running band, the Ivories.

“Deac” has worn many hats over his long career. From a session man during the 1950s R&B heyday to a Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar slinger in the psychedelic 60s, his career is unprecedented in New Orleans history.

For a long time, he mostly played private gigs, reportedly unhappy with the offers from local clubs. But recently, he has surfaced in a variety of venues—always leading a crack band and always with a smile on his face.

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Ashleigh Stone,
The TVD First Date

“There is a sound that comes only from the needle of a record player hitting the vinyl. It’s that silence beforehand and then, eventually, that first moment before the music when one can hear the little artifacts of dust, the crackle of vinyl. That is a sound like no other, and one that has always excited me since childhood.”

“Then there were the Jensen speakers my parents had connected to our record player. When I was a teen, they tried multiple times to sell them in garage sales, and each and every time I rescued them from leaving me. They sit unused in my living room to this day, but I exhibit them like trophies to the memories they hold within them.

My mother had what I recall as being a diverse but also impressive vinyl collection. There was everything from Little Feat, the Beatles, Linda Ronstadt, Clapton, and Michael Jackson all the way to the Let’s Disco dance instructional album and the very beloved family copy of the Reader’s Digest Christmas Collection. My favorite album, and an artist that I feel was never fully appreciated to her full extent, was Joan Armatrading’s Show Some Emotion.

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TVD Premiere: The Legal Immigrants, “Bily Goat”

“I prefer to listen to music on a turntable because it sounds better to me, but my affinity for analog runs deeper. Vinyl takes effort. Some of my most cherished records came from checking one more bin at a record shop. I’ll never forget when I scored a copy of Elton John’s 11-17-70 (great record) in Missoula, Montana. I couldn’t tell you where or when I downloaded any song on my phone.”

I also prefer to record analog for reasons beyond its sonic qualities. The entire process feels a lot more handmade. When we got done with our first day of tracking our producer didn’t hit ‘save,’ he took the tapes off the reels. There was a chance that our tapes didn’t make it in the mail to Detroit to get mastered.

‘Bily Goat’ is a pretty stupid name for a song. Ironically, it came from a typo while saving a demo I recorded when I first wrote it. I was really into billy goats at the time and shorted one ‘l’ and that was that….’Bily Goat’ was born. It was the first of a few songs on Drugs To Roses that we recorded in one take, and it all started with my two favorite words, ‘roll tape.'”
Joe Bockheim

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Graded on a Curve: Mercury Rev,
Yerself Is Steam

Love, people, is all around us. We’re surrounded by it. We’re choking on it, gagging on it, strangling on it. Which is why we erect barbed wire around our hearts; we don’t want it, love, to kill us. We must protect ourselves. Take defensive measures. Build a machine gun nest to gun it down before it can grab us and twist us into shapes that leave us vulnerable, defenseless, and at the whim of the one emotion that knows no mercy.

Which is where psychedelics come in. They tear down the barbed wire, jam the machine gun, and open our hearts like 24-hour drive-thru fast food outlets. And we come face to face with love, and see that it doesn’t want to strangle us after all. It just wants to open our hearts to the good that, believe it or not, is actually out there, roaming around in the horrible world.

Okay, so maybe I’m being a bit lax on hallucinogens. After all, I’m the guy who once locked himself into the bathroom of a doublewide trailer on a pig farm, because I was freaking out. But that never happens with a great psychedelic rock album. Take Mercury Rev’s 1991 debut, Yerself Is Steam. I listen to it and I can feel my heart open up like a flower. I’m a hippie and I don’t care, especially when the album comes to its fantastic ending, “Car Wash Hair.”

Perhaps best known for 1999’s excellent Deserter’s Songs, which featured cameos by The Band’s Levon Helm and Garth Hudson, Mercury Rev has come a long way from their early psychedelic blow-outs, much as their sister band The Flaming Lips have transcended their wild, acid-washed, ways. But a few songs aside, I think both bands have sacrificed something vital in the process. They sound bigger, lusher, more orchestral now, but the strangeness factor is gone; they sound like pros, not dayglo-eyed freaks, and it was their sheer weirdness that attracted me to them in the first place.

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In rotation: 6/26/15

The Story of Rastafarian music told in new Soul Jazz compilation: “Rastafari: The Dreads Enter Babylon 1955-83 will be released on Soul Jazz Records on 31st July as a double LP, complete with 40+ page booklet.”

Slash criticises ‘faceless’ digital age: Guitarist hails vinyl’s superior sound quality but says he’s still excited about future of music distribution

Check out Bonobo’s massive, “much neglected” vinyl collection: “Ninja Tune veteran Bonobo might be best known for his albums and live shows, but he’s also got one hell of a record collection…”

Toc, A Beautifully Crafted Record Player That Spins the Vinyl Vertically: “Toc is a beautifully crafted record player designed by Roy Harpaz that spins the vinyl vertically rather than the more traditional flat horizontal operation. The device can be controlled via remote, or with LED touch buttons built into the front panel…”

Rare, Unique, Foreigner – Very Best Of Conceptual Artwork Pieces from 1992 – for Pop Art & Rock Art Collectors alike: “What we have here are seven different one off conceptual pieces of artwork for the sleeve design, which were all rejected by the band…”

Artist turns old vinyl record into pop-culture wall clocks: “Corey V. from Orlando, Florida has a unique use for old vinyl records…”

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TVD Live: Bootstraps, Motopony, Jon DeRosa at the Troubadour, 6/18

PHOTOS: CHAD ELDER | Setting the tone for the evening at the Troubadour last Thursday was Los Angeles new comer Jon DeRosa.

My favorite part of this show and DeRosa’s music in general is that it’s unexpected. We all judge a book by its cover and from staring at DeRosa on stage you start to wonder if he is a lost member of the Source Family or if he just rode in on a Harley from Sturges. But as the band starts, DeRosa’s music conjures the crooning spirits of yesteryear such as Perry Como and Roy Orbison—enveloped by ghostly orchestration with David Lynch as puppet master. Definitely NOT what is anticipated by the book’s cover.

The music is both vintage and futuristic and although categorized as “pop,” DeRosa is in a genre all his own and it’s spellbinding. DeRosa held the audience’s captive attention for six beautiful songs, the same way a spiritual leader would command the attention of his congregation. Highlights include the dreamy, “Fool’s Razor” and gorgeous duet “Dancing in a Dream,” which on DeRosa’s album Black Halo features Carina Round. DeRosa closed his set with the eerier “High & Lonely,” gently taking the audience to another realm—not quote earth and not quite space—but somewhere in between.

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TVD Premiere: DownTown Mystic,
“And You Know Why”

NJ rocker DownTown Mystic delivers vintage nugget for the modern world.

We have the pleasure of exclusively premiering the band’s newest single “And You Know Why” which spins the classic rock vibes of yesteryear into a tight blend of nostalgic Americana. If the bittersweet opening slide guitar phrases don’t capture your attention, wait for the soaring chorus at :40 which glides out of the speakers in pristine 3 part harmony.

DownTown Mystic is the alter ego of Robert Allan whose passion for “old school” recording boarders on obsession. He also seems to have friends in high places, recruiting some pretty heavy hitters including members of the E Street Band to flesh out his rich recordings. That’s Max Weinberg on the skins and Garry W. Tallent on bass. The resulting recordings, entitled DownTown Mystic on E Street, will be released later this month.

DownTown Mystic Official | Facebook | Twitter

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The Single Girl: Adam Cleaver, “The Salt Mine”

Having previously been our Artist of The Week, we thought it only right to tell you a bit more about Adam Cleaver’s beautiful new single, “The Salt Mine.”

The track brings the listener in with gorgeously plucky guitar sounds before the rest of the instruments come into play to create an almighty roar of alternative-folk loveliness. Cleaver’s falsetto is on point throughout the track, and he also has a rather lovely low range going on as well.

The track itself is filled with dynamic shifts throughout, but as it comes to a close it reaches its climactic peak—filling the song with power and personality. The video is pretty cool too, check it out above.

“The Salt Mine” is released via Veta Records.

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A Badge of Friendship,
The Podcast

Last week they took us to Canada, this week they’re ready to ROCK! It’s time for Episode 11 of the A Badge Of Friendship Podcast!

The gang are joined in the studio by Dave McLaughlin, deputy editor for Rock Sound, to discuss all things loud and dirty—you know, the good things in life. They also put their heads together and try to list their favourite rock collaborations through the years.

After the glimpse into the abyss that was last week’s “World Of Weird,” Ed brings things back to a happier place with this week’s “Pass The Cheese,” while Paul tells us exactly why he can’t get enough of DeSoto Records in “Label Love.” Claire takes us to the land of the rising sun with her “World Of Weird Choice,” which manages to blend two completely opposing genres into something that, actually, kinda works.

Tracks heard on the show can be heard in full here:

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Graded on a Curve:
The Small Faces,
From the Beginning

The Small Faces stand as one of the very finest groups of the 1960s, though many know them mainly for Ogden’s Nut Gone Flake, their most ambitious and final album before Steve Marriott’s departure effectively ended their diminutive phase. The scoop is that all of the Small Faces’ ‘60s records are worthy of ownership, even the mercantile odds-and-ends collection From the Beginning. That disc and its self-titled predecessor are currently available as 180gm replica LPs. Are they cut to lacquer from the original quarter-inch production masters with front-laminated sleeves? Why yes indeed.

One gauge of the true greats is that the music manages to get better, or at least maintains a high standard of quality, as the discs take their place in the racks. So it is with the Small Faces. With this said the Decca period offers distinct and enduring appeal; more so than The Who, the Small Faces circa-’65-’66 are the true ambassadors of Mod. Utterly Brit in orientation, it wasn’t until the fourth LP that the group entered the US market.

The Small Faces consisted of Steve Marriott on vocals, guitar and harmonica, Ronnie Lane on bass, Kenney Jones on drums and percussion, and initially Jimmy Winston on keyboards. Upon signing to Decca through the efforts of manager Don Arden, they released two singles in ’65. The first “What’cha Gonna Do about It” charted, hitting #14, while the second “I’ve Got Mine” didn’t. Shortly thereafter, Winston was replaced by Ian McLagan, the new keyboardist assisting 3rd 45 “Sha-La-La-La-Lee” in reaching the #3 spot. A full-length followed a few months later.

Sporting the brass to open with “Shake” in Sam Cooke’s tempo, ’66’s Small Faces starts out strong and never really falters, which is impressive for a debut comprised roughly equally, as was the norm of the time, of originals and borrowed/cover material. Neither tentative nor betraying instrumental greenness, the Small Faces were also unburdened by conflict over what they wanted to be.

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In rotation: 6/25/15

Wanted: Your memories of iconic Liverpool bar The Jacaranda: As The Jac prepares to open a record and coffee shop, we ask for your photos of it through the years

Phonica Records… In the Groove: “90% of what we sell is vinyl so vinyl seems to be thriving

A man is selling his late father’s collection of 250,000 records in a $350,000 job lot: “If you’re looking to build up your record collection in a hurry, then a Craigslist seller in Dunkirk, NY might have the answer – so long as you have the cash…”

This turntable spins records vertically: Chicago start-up launches successful Kickstarter for the Floating Record (Yikes. —Ed.)

The one crucial reason Apple Music and Spotify can never replace your music collection: “Permanence is everything.”

Vibraphone Records announces reissue campaign: The lauded—and long inactive—Italian label is getting back to work first with a remastered version of its 1992 Bermuda Triangle EP.

One for the record books: NOLA preps for new music Friday: “Tuesday’s gone, and Fridays are in for the release of new music in the United States and globally…”

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Little May,
The TVD First Date

“I hadn’t really thought about this before, but vinyl has a pretty profound link to my early memories of family and music.”

“When I was little my dad would play records every night. I have vivid memories of listening to Led Zeppelin, The Doors, Alice Cooper, Black Sabbath, and Credence Clearwater Revival on record. In winter in Sydney it was too cold to be anywhere else in the house but by the fire. At night my mum, dad, brother and I, and our dog Phoebe would sit in front of the fire and listen to vinyl.

Our lights in the house were really dull. I remember the darkness, the warmth, the crackling and scratching, the smell of the house and the fire, our grandmothers ugly brown velvet couches, my pajamas. When my parents would have groggy dinner parties, I remember managing to fall asleep despite the music and drunkenness getting sufficiently louder. The sound of vinyl so genuinely reminds me of what I treasure most in life; my family and music. Those early days of listening to vinyl marked the beginning of an endless obsession with music.

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TVD Video Premiere: Fireships, “Gush”

“I wrote “Gush” after a great first date, trying to hold a conversation while getting carried away by romantic notions.”

“For the video we rented a loft via Craigslist and by evening we were hurling buckets of paint at each other. Housemates came by, aghast by what we were doing in their home. Hasidic kids from the nabe came by and then called the cops because they thought we were shooting a porno.

Paint flew, caution tossed to the wind—absurdity winning the day… until an awful scare. Our bandmate slipped on paint, taking a very hard fall. We wrapped. Thank goodness she recovered, paint washed off, and no one got in trouble. Ah, the artistic process!”
Andrew Vladeck

We have the pleasure of premiering Fireships’ video for their punchy single “Gush.” Turns out the Brooklyn band’s ambitious energy extends to their video production—a format that suits their off-beat, funky folk revival esthetic.

Band spearhead Andrew Vladeck and Co. agreed to be slimed by entire cans of neon paint, instruments in hand, while their joyful hooks blast over the unflappable imagery. Hey, it actually looks like fun, which seems to be the band’s MO—as clearly defined by the first few bars of their debut.

Fireships’ self titled debut arrived in stores in April. 
Fireships Official | Facebook | Twitter

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Graded on a Curve:
Yo La Tengo,
May I Sing With Me

Yo La Tengo has always been a hard band to put a label on. Mainly because they’re all over the fucking place, putting sweet and melodic tunes next to epic guitar blow-outs. This has led many a critic to tar them as a sort of second coming of The Velvet Underground, another band that went from lovely to jarringly dissonant at the drop of that syringe Lou Reed used to pretend he was shooting up with on stage. But Yo La Tengo lacks the panache of VU, for one simple reason: no syringes. The trio looks anything but menacing, doesn’t make decadence its subject matter, and its members could easily pass for counselors at a youth summer camp. They lack the jaded and sordid stuff of which rock legends are made. They’re too… nice.

The question of whether this has hurt them career-wise is debatable, but one thing’s for sure—their eclecticism can be as maddening as it is happy-making. Is their next album going to be a friendly acoustic hello (Fakebook), a ramshackle series of covers performed in as half-assed a manner as possible (Yo La Tengo Is Murdering the Classics), or a series of blistering guitar assaults on your ear holes? Or, most likely, a little bit of both? I certainly don’t know. What I do know is that they’re one of the most consistently excellent bands in the land, producing great album after great album, both decadence and adherence to a strict formula be damned.

Hoboken’s Yo La Tengo—they’re Ira Kaplan on guitar, piano, and vocals; Georgia Hubley on drums, piano, and vocals; and James McNew on bass and vocals—have been around since 1984, although McNew didn’t come on board until 1992’s May I Sing With Me, on which he played on 9 of its 11 tracks. May I Sing With Me is, without a doubt, one of those LPs where they’re all over the place. Kaplan plays some of the most dissonant and adventurous guitar I’ve ever heard—“Mushroom Cloud of Hiss” comes close to equaling VU’s “I Heard Her Call My Name,” my touchstone when it comes to pure chaotic mad guitar genius—while the songs featuring Hubley on vocals are as sweet as shoo-fly pie. Okay, so maybe the LP is slanted towards noise, beautiful noise, and none of its songs are as lovely as the ones on 1990’s great Fakebook, but I’m a noise guy and simply can’t resist big dissonance, so of course I’m going to prefer May I Sing With Me.

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TVD Recommends: Terence Higgins’ Trio Electric (featuring Cliff Hines & Brian Coogan) at the Maple Leaf, 6/24


Three of my favorite musicians will be getting together Thursday night at the Maple Leaf Bar to create “a night of psychedelic craziness” that is danceable as well. Those words come from guitarist Cliff Hines. He will be appearing with keyboardist Brian Coogan and drummer Terence Higgins.

This music is edgy in the best sense of the word. Higgins, who many know from his many years in the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, with Ani DiFranco, Warren Haynes, and others keeps the band grounded and keeps the dance floor hopping.

Coogan, who is a musical chameleon and plays with Pretty Lights on the international touring circuit and Hines, of Hildegard and numerous other projects, have developed into intuitive players who can play “very loose and improvisational in the best way.” Again those are the words of Hines.

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