Author Archives: Michelle Evans

TVD Vinyl Giveway: Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, Tape Club

…and it’s autographed!

Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin formed approximately 10 years ago. Over the course of those years, they’ve released three studio albums, but that doesn’t mean that’s all they’ve recorded. Thanks to their new release, Tape Club, you can hear 26 never-released songs carefully curated to reflect the band’s musical evolution over the years.

Tape Club makes its debut on the shelves of your local record store today, and guess what? We’re giving away an autographed copy of the vinyl LP. Just tell us about your favorite SSLYBY show and why in the comments below.

We’ll choose one winner next Tuesday, 10/25. Winner must have a mailing address in the continental US or Canada.

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Exclusive debut: Brand new from Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers

TVD is pleased to join the Huffington Post, American Songwriter, and No Depression with an exclusive debut of two tracks from Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers, whose Vanguard release finds its way to store shelves on October 11th.

Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers are a straight-up American rock ‘n roll band. Hailing from Northampton, MA, members include Stephen Kellogg (vocals, guitar, keys), Kit Karlson (bass, keys, tuba, vocals), Boots Factor (drums, mando, banjo, vocals), and Sam Getz (electric guitar, pedal steel).

Their fifth album, Gift Horse, is filled with songs that revolve around personal-yet-universal themes like family, mortality, and relationships.

TVD is pleased to debut two exclusive tracks from this album, “Roots and Wings” and “Noelle, Noelle.” The tracks are available to stream for the next 48 hours only.



Stephen Kellogg and The Sixers Official | Facebook | Twitter

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Frank Turner:
The TVD Interview

I was able to sit down for a few minutes before the Ottobar show last Friday to talk with Frank Turner. I found him to be just as his songs portray him: funny, outspoken, passionate, and sincere. His good taste in music and his lack of pretention about it was something I found particularly endearing and refreshing, as well. Among other things, we discuss some of his favorite bands, his bringing Lucero to the U.K., and what it’s like to play increasingly larger venues. Oh, and guess what, y’all? He totally gets what it’s like to be a fan. He’s even got a band tattoo himself.

So you’ve been playing some older stuff on this tour?

Yeah, it’s not going to be like the entirety of the new album [England Keep My Bones] or whatever. The first record I did, Sleep Is for the Week, hasn’t really been properly released in this country, so I don’t feel as bad only playing a few songs off that record. That seems legitimate to me. We’re playing a fair amount of stuff from Love, Ire & Song forward. It occurred to me during sound check we haven’t been playing a lot off Poetry of the Deed, so we’re playing more of those songs too.

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TVD Live: Frank Turner & The Sleepless Souls at Ottobar, 9/23

I walked into the Ottobar in Baltimore knowing exactly what to expect from a Frank Turner show, for I had seen him about a year before as support for the Lucero and Social Distortion tour. That didn’t stave off my excitement any, though. If nothing else, it kind of intimidated me, because I was walking in off only eight hours sleep in three days, and I wasn’t at all sure I had the energy for it. (Turns out a couple of Jameson on the rocks cured that very nicely.)

Frank’s shows are notoriously high-energy, sweaty, and interactive, and this past Friday night’s show was no exception. With all the clapping, stomping, and dancing, I can’t help but be reminded of my church-going days as a child. To me, Frank’s shows have a revival-esque quality to them, right down to all the screaming, gyrating folks up front. I half expected to see some fainting or speaking in tongues.

Downright humorous, I think, considering neither Frank nor I believe in god (“Glory Hallelujah”).

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The TVD Interview:
Ben Knox Miller of
The Low Anthem

On Friday, September 16th, The Low Anthem performed in the turn-of-the-century, fully restored Pocahontas County Opera House in rural mountain West Virginia. I was able to catch up with Ben Knox Miller after sound-check to discuss things like the historical aspect of the venue in which they played, the musical heritage of the area, and his plethora of musical influences.

So this is your last tour for a while, right?

Yeah, it’s our last tour for a while, because we’re taking a break to record a couple records that we’ve written but haven’t had any time at home [in Rhode Island], so it’s kind of the last tour for the material we’ve been touring with for about two and a half years now. We’ve been playing these sets that go chronologically, playing all the material in the order it was sequenced on the records, which has a nice, natural arc to it. We’ve never tried to do a set list like that way, so it’s been pretty fun.

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The Low Anthem
with William Elliott Whitmore at 9:30 Club
& Pocahontas County Opera House, 9/15 & 9/16

Bands tour all across the country (and the world!), but we don’t generally give it a second thought, unless they are coming to our town. Today, we will compare two tour dates on the tour of The Low Anthem and William Elliott Whitmore and see how they measure up.

One date was in Washington, DC at the famed 9:30 Club, as seen by TVD editor Kelly Kettering, and the other was a few hours away in the small West Virginia town of Marlinton at the Pocahontas County Opera House with editor Michelle Evans.

First up at the Pocahontas County Opera House was Willy Whitmore, a folk singer “from the hills of Lee County, Iowa.” The first song he sang in West Virginia was “Lift My Jug,” a jaunty tune employing the use of both a banjo and a kick drum. His voice was soulful, deep, and bordering on the spiritual, an especially perfect accompaniment to those songs of his with themes of politics, redemption, and the plight of the working man (of which there were blessedly aplenty), like “Diggin’ My Grave” and “Old Devils.”

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TVD Recommends:
The Jim Jones Revue with Beach Bloods at Black Cat Tomorrow

Upon first hearing The Jim Jones Revue, I immediately thought “rockabilly meets Guns ‘n Roses” subsequently followed by “How fun!”

An English garage band consisting of Jim Jones (formerly of The Hypnotics), Rupert Orton, Gavin Jay, Nick Jones, and Henri Herbert, The Jim Jones Revue will be playing tomorrow at the Black Cat.

Kid Congo Powers and The Pink Monkey Birds (Brian Tristan formerly of Gun Club and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds) and Beach Bloods are opening. The latter I’m especially stoked about discovering.



Beach Bloods | Waiting For Nothing

The Beach Bloods are an incredibly enjoyable lofi surf-punk band that makes me feel like a super-tan tattooed surfer chick with dreads whenever I listen to them, which happens to be the furthest thing from what I actually am. Well done, gentlemen. Never hurts for a gal to dream.

If you want to see a show that will make you feel like summer’s just beginning instead of ending, this one’s it.

Posted in TVD Washington, DC | 1 Comment

Cory Branan:
The TVD Interview

I have not only had the pleasure of seeing Cory Branan live a number of times, but of being introduced to him—hand extended for the shaking—while he was peeing into a cup in the dirty corner of a dive bar. I caught up with him via phone while he was in Mississippi (under a tin roof in the rain, mind you) to talk about (among other things) his upcoming album, peer love, and his support tour with Dashboard Confessional. That being said… Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Cory motherfuckin’ Branan:

As of May, you said you were still shopping around for a label for Mutt. How is that coming along?

Well, honestly, we’ve got one last label that I’m interested in, that I like, and that we’re talking to, but it’s getting damn close to me starting my own label, or you know, self-releasing the record. It’s just getting to the point where I don’t see much advantage any other way. Starting in November, I think, I’m going to do a Kickstarter campaign, as weird as those things are. So we’re going to have that put up in November and December to set up for a March release. So, yeah, I think I’m going to go ahead and try to raise the 10 grand it costs to press and promote and do all that. Think I’m going to try to take it straight to fans on Kickstarter and use it as a way to pre-order the record.

I’m a big fan of Kickstarter.

Yeah, you know, there’s just something about it… I’m kind of old school. Something about it rubs me a little weird. I don’t know. I’m used to labels having to earn a record, and now labels just want you to record it and hand it to them for such a small investment. I don’t understand, really. I feel for them a little bit. I don’t know how any label’s doing it, sticking around, but I don’t know. I don’t get it. It’s just a real strange time for music.

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TVD Recommends: Jones Street Station
at DC9, TONIGHT

Jones Street Station is a Brooklyn-based band consisting of mandolinist/singer Danny Erker, harmonica player/singer Jonathan Hull, keyboardist/singer Jonathan Benedict, bassist/singer Walt Wells, and drummer Vin Scialla.

Their blend of Americana, country-folk, and harmonies reminiscent of the Old Time style remind me of bands like Wilco and The Avett Brothers but with more rock. Add to that sad-but-poppy songs like “Evergreen,” and you’ve got a band unique unto itself. Jones Street Station offer listeners a wide range of musical influences, reaching out to fans of everything from bluegrass to pop.



You can check them out at tonight’s show at DC9, but in the meantime, give them a listen and grab their newest single “The Understanding” on bandcamp.

Jones Street Station Official | Facebook | Twitter

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Lucero: The TVD Takeover Week, Day 5

Lucero have long been one of my favorite bands. Ben Nichols’ voice and song-writing tug at my heart strings like no other, and the band’s willingness to deviate from “the path” (both musically and career-wise) have earned them my deepest respect and loyalty. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many a Lucero show over the years, and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. If you can get to one on their current tour, go. You won’t regret it. Till then, welcome to TVD’s Lucero Takeover Week.

I’m not gonna lie: I have a love-hate relationship with Ben Nichols’ voice and song-writing. I hate to cry but I love to feel, hence the conundrum. Emotions aside, I do not think many people would argue with me were I to say that Ben is one of the best song-writers of our time with a voice that lends weight and grit to his words. I’ve been anything from soothed to forced to rock-bottom to energized by them, and sometimes all in the time span of a typical Lucero show. Ben talks about (among other things) their new record, touring with Frank Turner, and our [come to find] mutual love of Tom Petty. 

One of my favorite shows was when Frank Turner opened for Lucero. What are the chances of you performing again with him?

I have a feeling we’ll definitely cross paths with Frank again. I first met him on The Revival Tour with Chuck Ragan back in 2008 or so. Played with him in Australia as well and also on the Social Distortion tour. I have a feeling next time we play with him, though, we will be opening for him instead of the other way around. He’s really good and getting very popular very fast. He works his ass off. Hopefully we can go over to the U.K. and open for him on his home turf.

A lot of your fans admire you and your “work hard/play hard” lifestyle and consider you a hero. Many of them, like me, are able to keep their cool long enough to meet you and say a few words of appreciation but then lose their shit shortly thereafter. What are some artists who you think you’d lose your shit over should you ever meet them, and why?

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Lucero: The TVD Takeover Week, Day 4

Lucero have long been one of my favorite bands. Ben Nichols’ voice and song-writing tug at my heart strings like no other, and the band’s willingness to deviate from “the path” (both musically and career-wise) have earned them my deepest respect and loyalty. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many a Lucero show over the years, and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. If you can get to one on their current tour, go. You won’t regret it. Till then, welcome to TVD’s Lucero Takeover Week.

Between performing and recording with both Lucero and Glossary, Todd Beene is a pretty busy man. Fortunately, we were able to catch up to discuss Lucero’s new record, Glossary’s new record, life on Warped Tour, and Southern duality. He’s as smart as he is nice and talented to boot.

Well, let’s start with the obvious. You play pedal steel and are touring right now with Lucero. Based on the photos you and Roy Berry have been posting, it looks like it’s been a pretty good time so far. How are you finding festival life?

This is our first experience with this kind of thing. Summer is usually festival season for us, but this is the first time we’ve done a touring festival circus. We were all a bit apprehensive going in, but we are all honestly having the time of our lives. We have met and gotten to see a lot of great bands that we probably wouldn’t have had the opportunity to see in our normal touring situation. There are lots of great bands out here like Street Dogs, Lionize, Against Me!, The Aggrolites, Foxy Shazam…it’s been great so far.

You’re also in another one of my favorite Tennessee bands, Glossary, which have been around for over a decade. Tell us non-local folk how Glossary came to be.

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Lucero: The TVD Takeover Week, Day 3

Lucero have long been one of my favorite bands. Ben Nichols’ voice and song-writing tug at my heart strings like no other, and the band’s willingness to deviate from “the path” (both musically and career-wise) have earned them my deepest respect and loyalty. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many a Lucero show over the years, and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. If you can get to one on their current tour, go. You won’t regret it. Till then, welcome to TVD’s Lucero Takeover Week.

What’s on Brian Venable’s mind these days? Well, modern country, fatherhood, and making music his son will be proud of after he’s gone, to name just a few, and I do mean a “few.” That man’s got a busy brain.

First of all, happy belated birthday! Has it sunk in yet that you’re 40?

It doesn’t seem to really matter so far! I think it’s weirder to realize that my mom and dad have a 40-year-old child… that’s what’s crazy!

I’m always curious what inspires those who inspire me. Not only am I curious as to whom you’re listening to these days, but I often wonder what other things in your life leak into the music you make?

I’ve been listening to a lot of modern country like Brad Paisley, Jamey Johnson and Eric Church as well as the standards like Waylon Jennings, David Allan Coe and the first Hank [Williams] Jr. record! Then there’s the metal stuff like Kylesa, Black Tusk and Coliseum. And a lot of old soul like James Carr and O.V. Wright!

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Lucero: The TVD Takeover Week, Day 2

Lucero have long been one of my favorite bands. Ben Nichols’ voice and song-writing tug at my heart strings like no other, and the band’s willingness to deviate from “the path” (both musically and career-wise) have earned them my deepest respect and loyalty. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many a Lucero show over the years, and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. If you can get to one on their current tour, go. You won’t regret it. Till then, welcome to TVD’s Lucero Takeover Week.

Roy Berry impresses me, plain and simple. I have always thought his drumming style ingenious and wondered if the person behind the kit was as intelligent, thoughtful, and fun-loving as I had imagined. Turns out, it’s all true – and then some. Roy talks about our mutual love of street art, his side projects, and his technological skills. Oh, and partying. Let’s not forget the partying.

You’re one of my favorite people to watch play in Lucero. You kind of remind me of Animal from the Muppets. What’s going on back there?

Thanks. Who knows, that guy’s weird. . . here’s the short list: neuroses, flashbacks, binary math, break dancing, amnesia, smoking, drinking, music church, mumbling, monitor problems, video games.

I hear you’re one of the few members of the band not challenged by technology. Do you consider this a hindrance or an asset?

I made video games for fun in high school, used to be a computer programmer and taught myself drums using binary and ternary numbers. Of course being unchallenged by technology is an asset. I do other music under the name Overjoid using electronics instead of drums. It helps me try out odd rhythms and sounds, keeps me informed about recording and audio technology and helps me talk the talk with studio and live sound engineers.

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Lucero: The TVD Takeover Week

Lucero have long been one of my favorite bands. Ben Nichols’ voice and song-writing tug at my heart strings like no other, and the band’s willingness to deviate from “the path” (both musically and career-wise) have earned them my deepest respect and loyalty. I’ve had the pleasure of attending many a Lucero show over the years, and I can’t say I’ve ever been disappointed. If you can get to one on their current tour, go. You won’t regret it. Till then, welcome to TVD’s Lucero Takeover Week.

Keyboardist Rick Steff is not only one of the most talented musicians I’ve ever had the pleasure of meeting but also one of the nicest. We caught up and talked about both his and his father’s extensive musical accomplishments, life with Lucero, and the craziness that was the ’80s. Humility, charm, and manners go a long with me, and Rick’s got ’em in spades. I hope he’s with Lucero for a long, long time.

I find your musical background incredibly impressive and interesting. Tell me all about it!

My dad was one of the most recorded trumpet player of the sixties and seventies. He was a part of the “The Memphis Horns.” He played on Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds” and hundreds of other great records…so I grew up in a very musical environment.

I played around a lot and moved to England when I was 20 to join Dexy’s Midnight Runners. I was a “Memphis organist”, which is the main reason I got the job…recording with them was just crazy. We recorded for a little over a year, but never played live. I came back to America and joined up with Hank Williams Jr.’s band.

Recently I played on the newest Huey Lewis, did Cat Power’s “The Greatest” and hundreds of other records. I’m an all around session guy. I’m especially proud of latest Amy LaVere record which was a great record I did. It’s gotten four and five star reviews in Q and Mojo and places like that. I tried to bring a copy with me on the road but my wife wouldn’t let me, because she wants to listen to it all the time!

Probably the coolest record I did was with Klaus Voormann, I got to play on his record, and actually ended up playing a decent role on it. Klaus played bass with [John] Lennon and played with George Harrison and Ringo [Starr], too…it was really amazing.

Your father worked with folks like Elvis Presley, Dusty Springfield, Isaac Hayes, and Rufus Thomas. Got any interesting stories or memories?

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Jen Buxton: The TVD Interview

Australian singer-songwriter Jen Buxton, formerly of Like… Alaska, is easily one my new favorite artists. Her debut solo record Don’t Change Your Plans for Me deals honestly (often times brutally) with love, heartbreak, autonomy, and the hard and not-so-simple art of getting over someone. I was lucky enough to catch up with Jen to discuss (among other things) motherhood, the Boys’ Club that is the alt-country genre, and her new, optimistic outlook on love. I am absolutely intrigued by her and her music, and I think you will be too.

So, let’s talk about the Boys’ Club that is currently the alt-country genre. You did some guest spots with some of the best of those boys on the Australian leg of The Revival Tour, which had to feel pretty good. What was it like?

It is kind of a man’s game, huh! There are some women out there doing amazing things, especially over where you are—Jenny Owen Youngs, Audra Mae, Valerie June, Mamie Minch, the Anderson family girls—but yeah, it does seem to be mostly boys. I play a lot of shows where I am the only woman on stage for the whole bill, and I am kind of conscious of that I guess. Me and the girl workin’ the door are the only women involved in the whole operation, that kinda thing haha.

The voices I remember hearing growing up are all women’s voices: Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou, and all the rest, but maybe that’s atypical. Everyone involved with the Revival Tour are incredible musicians and people, and that’s got nothing to do with their gender. I had an amazing time and have had the opportunity since and prior to play with Chuck [Ragan], Tom Gabel, Frank Turner, Tim Barry, and Joey Cape, and none of them could be thought of in any way as sexist or anything like that. They’ve just put in the hard work and have the talent, and deserve to be where they are. Remembering too that Jill Ragan is the grease on the wheels of the whole thing, she is one incredible lady!

I guess I can’t explain the disparity; I’m probably just not looking in the right places. I think alt-country is just a microcosm of a lot of other music genres which tend to have a gender imbalance, and as a feminist that is kind of an issue for me, but I don’t really have the answers. Coming up through the punk and hardcore scene in my hometown I’ve always thought more girls should be picking up guitars. I look to some of my favourite artists like Ani Difranco, who has been touring and putting out albums for twenty years, Cat Power, Mirah, Kathleen Hannah—they are out there, and they are the people who drove me when I started. Hopefully, I will inspire a few ladies and show ’em it’s not just boys’ fun; you can write songs about drinking and girls too! Hahaha.

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  • SUPPORTING YOUR LOCAL INDIE SHOPS SINCE 2007


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