Author Archives: Samantha Hilsenrod

Lyrics Born gets funky on Real People

“New Orleans is the first and last real music town in America. You can go out every night of the week, or even multiple times a day, and hear truly good music that is also local music.” That was one of the many reasons Bay area rapper Lyrics Born decided that he wanted to make an album steeped heavily in New Orleans music.

One of the latest artists to find inspiration in the sounds and sites of the Crescent City, his new album Real People, recorded locally at Galactic Studios, taps into the funky sound you hear bumping from cars and clubs all around town. “I was really inspired by the whole vibe here and I wanted to make a record that had that earthy, soulful feel,” he explained.

Ben Ellman and Robert Mercurio of Galactic produced the album and a myriad of New Orleans hard hitters make cameos in a way that is a bit reminiscent of a Lundi Gras Galactic show. “Ellman and Mercurio introduced me to this tight group of musicians they hang out with and from there it just kind of snowballed. I’ve got David Shaw (The Revivalists), Trombone Shorty, Corey Henry (Galactic), Ivan Neville (Dumpstaphunk), and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on the record,” he said.

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This Is NOLA relaunches at the Joy Theater

This is NOLA is not just an event, it’s a concept. Emerging from a lack of centralized support for the contemporary arts and the cocktail and culinary scenes in New Orleans, the party’s founder Reeves Price sought to highlight all the facets of the emerging, progressive culture in the city. It returns to the Joy Theater Friday night, 5/22.

“Our local heritage and the people who built it are what make New Orleans unlike any other city in the world and cherished unlike any other city in the world. As we continue to grow as America’s boutique city, we are attracting new people, new tastes, and new trends. They are not changing the local culture, they are complimenting it, and This Is NOLA is their speakerbox,” Price said.

Friday’s music line up does not disappoint in that regard and runs the gamut in terms of genres while featuring some of the city’s most interesting young artists.

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TVD Video Premiere: Yojimbo, “Happy Birthday to the Dead”

New Orleans’ favorites Yojimbo debut their new video “Happy Birthday to the Dead” exclusively with TVD today. Shot at a backyard party in the Bywater, the band had attendees don white sheets for an impromptu concert.

The video encapsulates Yojimbo’s playful exploration of the fine line between life and death, a theme that runs through the entirety of their latest album Ghost Birthdays. Look for the ghost in the background wearing a fedora; sillier things may never have been seen.

You can check Yojimbo out around town this Jazz Fest. April 29 they will be hosting the Misfit Party at the HiHo Lounge along with Skerik, Jacob Fred, and DJ Sir Real. This should be an awesome show. Skerik and Yojimbo’s Carly Meyers are some of the pre-eminent horn players in the funk world, and seeing them tear it up together will be an unparalleled experience.

You can also check Yojimbo out 4/26 with Yikes! at Sydney’s, 4/27 at the Maison (opening for DARKWAVE), 4/30 at the Hi Ho with Yugen and Slangston Hughes, and 5/3 for AZZFEST with Batebunda.

Yojimbo Official | Facebook | Twitter

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TVD Vinyl Giveaway: Pimps of Joytime, Jukestone Paradise

“I closed my eyes and kept thinking of what a weird, spaced out, futuristic juke joint might be like and the music you would find there.” That was Brian J’s inspiration for Pimps of Joytime’s third album Jukestone Paradise out today. Read on to find out how to win a copy of the new album on vinyl.

The album, like the POJT’s past offerings, is impossibly fun. Even if you knew nothing about the Brooklyn quintet, could a band called The Pimps of Joytime make an album that was anything but entertaining? J, the creative force behind the group, takes every genre of music that could possibly make you want to move, whether it be Latin, funk, disco, psychedelic, or electronic, and puts it together in one heady brew, something he has called, “the Pimp’s Pot.”

This new release has a more pronounced electronic/disco feel than past offerings and there is definitely a space vibe permeating even the funkiest, earthiest tracks. On album standout “Heart is Wild,” psychedelic, cosmic breaks infuse the song, creating a vibe that really is out of this world. It’s the kind of song where you really can’t decide if you want to get up or get down.

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TVD Recommends: Stars at the Republic, 4/7

The Canadian indie-pop group Stars, known for making perfectly orchestrated electronic infused rock, will be coming to town on Tuesday for a show at the Republic. Stars is not your typical pop/rock/electronic outfit. Their music is dark, introspective, and incredibly well thought out, with influences as diverse and varied as The Smiths, DJ Rashad, and Motown.

The band recorded their most recent album, 2014’s No One Is Lost, in a studio above a gay disco in Montreal. While working on the album they could hear and feel bass from the club below and were inspired to “out throb the throb.” That throb makes much of their new material quite danceable and less stiff than their earlier offerings.

Still, Stars’ can’t seem to shake a Type-A vibe that runs throughout their work, probably because their songs are so precise. House beats, disco guitars, background vocals, and sweeping lyrics almost make it sound like you are listening to a books-on-tape remix of the track “From the Night,” a noted departure from earlier, slower work like “Sleep Tonight.”

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TVD Recommends: Kodak to Graph at the
Hi Ho Lounge, 3/26

Michael Maleki, a young Iranian-American producer also known as Kodak to Graph, is one of the most interesting new artists on the electronic music scene. Discovered by fellow Gainesville natives Hundred Waters, his soundscape is influenced heavily by the locales of his present and future.

Maleki grew up in the swamps of northern Florida, and the found nature sounds of birds and running water inform his work as much as the edgy scene he has become a part of in his adopted Los Angeles home.

The juxtaposition of these wildly different vibes in Maleki’s tracks create a listening experience that is somehow both relaxing and intoxicatingly fun.

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TVD Recommends:
J. Cole at the House of Blues tonight, 3/23

J. Cole released 2014’s best selling hip-hop album, Forest Hills Drive, which sold over 300,000 copies in its first week; a huge feat in the age of streaming, Spotify, and Pandora. However, there is a good chance you haven’t heard any of the songs from the album, given that Cole accomplished all of this without a radio single.

Tonight you should change that. Cole will be taking the stage this evening at the House of Blues along with three of the genre’s most exciting up-and-coming artists: Bas, Cozz, and Omen.

All three cult sensations are part of Cole’s Dreamville/Interscope Records imprint, which means that Cole guested on and had a role in producing each of their albums.

Despite all being in the same music family, each of the artists will bring their own unique style to the stage. If Cole is the wise patriarch of the bunch, musing anti-consumerist thoughts on Letterman, then Cozz is the fresh-faced youth.

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TVD Recommends: Buku Music + Art Project, 3/13 and 3/14

Friday night, Buku Music + Art Project will kick off its fourth year at Mardi Gras World. The event has become wildly successful, selling out both this year’s GA and VIP tickets, and with good reason. It is the most unique festival experience you can have in New Orleans this spring.

While many of this season’s other festivals will focus on New Orleans’ much beloved local music and big rock and pop names, Buku will give patrons a chance to check out up-and-coming EDM artists as well as the genre’s established national acts (Bassnectar headlines this year).

Add to that a sprinkling of hip hop, incredible art installations, amazing VIP experiences, and a post-industrial riverfront venue, and Buku quickly becomes the coolest place to dance your ass off this weekend. We’ve checked out the schedule and we are here to bring you our picks for the sets you shouldn’t miss.

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TVD Video Premiere: Yugen, “Burn It Down”

Fresh from their recent sold out album release show at Gasa Gasa, New Orleans based sextet Yugen have a new video filmed live at the killer party. We’re pleased to premiere it here exclusively.

The band is a high-energy ensemble that does not shy away from the fusion that permeates the Crescent City. A mixture of MC-led hip-hop, improvisational jazz, and synth-happy electro, “Burn It Down” is a dynamic performance that goes from flat-out groovy to the type of heavy that makes you want to bang your head (in a good way).

The group’s name Yugen means a sort of gracefulness, and the band’s aesthetic is just that. The video is well done with smooth transitions and the music has the intangible flow integral to all good hip-hop.

Yugen Facebook | Twitter | Bandcamp

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TVD Recommends:
FKA Twigs with Boots
at the Republic, 11/29

PHOTOS: BRIGID GALLAGHER FROM THE METRO IN CHICAGO, 11/13 | FKA Twigs is the girl you need to know about right now. The stunning Brit just released her first full-length album, and critics have lauded it everywhere as, “The record you need to listen to immediately.”

And we agree. In fact, we don’t just think you need to listen to Twigs ASAP—you should go check her out live at the Republic this Saturday.

Fans can expect a show filled with the sexy, ethereal, R&B infused electronica that has pervaded the songstress’s previous releases. While concertgoers are guaranteed to gyrate ever so slowly and seductively, this is not just baby-making music. FKA twigs is also a surprisingly keen lyricist. She is liberal with swear words and obscenities on tracks such as “Two Weeks,” and her music’s jagged edges belie the incredible emotion and longing that permeates her work.

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New Orleans artists to watch at Bear Creek

This weekend marks the annual Bear Creek Music & Art Festival at the Spirit of Suwanee Music Park in Live Oak, Florida. Each year a plethora of New Orleans acts make the trip to the funky, four-day party in the woods. The 2014 lineup is no different and boasts a Big Easy presence as strong as ever. If you love to funk (which you must if you’re at Bear Creek!) you surely love New Orleans music. Check out our list of the Crescent City’s local treasures that should not be missed.

Dumpstaphunk | First of all, there are 2 Nevilles in Dumpstaphunk. Does it get more royally New Orleans than that? Regardless of the group’s impressive musical lineage, Dumpstaphunk is a straight-up, booty shaking, awesome good time. Any fan of the funk knows what it means to, “put it in the dumpsta.” The five word command, sung and shouted by Ivan Neville, Tony Hall, and Ian Neville at their live shows implores the audience to throw away their troubles, hang ups, and negative energy and just have fun.

Tunes filled with heavy bass lines and gritty grooves make it impossible to stand still. Catch these guys hosting their Dumpstajam at Buffalo’s Amphitheater on Friday night at midnight. There will surely be some special guests from the Big Easy and beyond.

Lettuce | While these guys technically come from Brooklyn, trumpeter Eric Benny Bloom has called New Orleans home for almost a year. He’s been trying out soulful new grooves on the audience at the intimate Chickie Wah Wah on Tuesday nights, becoming a fixture in the local scene. One of the preeminent acts of the modern-day funk scene, Lettuce released a new album this Fall, so look out for new material during their Saturday set at the Purple Hat stage (10:15 PM).

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TVD Video Premiere: Yojimbo, “Subliminal Socrates”

It was muggy New Orleans day in September. Despite the heat, the youthful, punky trio Yojimbo was leading a bicycle gang dressed in cowprint fuzzy onesies and giant angel wings around the eclectic Bywater neighborhood. As the gang rounded the corner of Press and Rampart, a colorful crew of costumed dancers (including one giant cockroach) carrying confetti and streamers ran towards the wheeled procession. Cars and passersby, including one cop, stopped to watch.

The police officer commented on how this really wasn’t that weird a going-on for New Orleans. The bikers shouted in response, “we’re shooting a music video!”

At one point, Carly’s trombone appeared to be broken. It wasn’t sliding up and down. She inquired from the video participants if anyone had a trombone they could loan her. This reporter and the cockroach were able to locate her a new one almost immediately. They returned not just with a trombone, but with another man in a tutu ready to join in on the fun. Reinvigorated the vocalist joked, “This is probably the only city in the world where I could have a new trombone delivered to me in less than twenty minutes.”

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Yojimbo drops new album Ghost Birthdays today, 11/4

The third album from the youthful New Orleans favorites will be released independently today (11/4). This is the first record from the jazzy, punky trio with vocals. Carly Meyers, indisputably the most energetic trombone player in a trombone town, lends a new layer of sound with a pretty, ethereal voice when she is not blowing her horn.

The album’s release comes at a fitting time. As New Orleans winds down from Halloween, we remember those we have loved and lost in the past year on All Souls’ Day. The inspiration for Ghost Birthdays came from the passing of drummer Adam Gertner’s grandfather this past year. It’s a concept album about the fluidity of life and death, and the idea that those that leave us physically never truly leave us in spirit.

On “Happy Birthday to the Dead,” an infectious, danceable track that idea is expounded upon. Carly sings, “Did you know that you were dead? Did you know that you were alive,” reminding her listeners that it’s all just one and the same on a long, spiritual journey.

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Yojimbo plays Wednesdays in October at the Maple Leaf Bar

Carly Meyers has made a name for herself as the high-energy trombonist with the Mike Dillon Band. The pint-sized player will bound around the stage, dancing and jumping. Her horn becomes not just an instrument but also an appendage that she incorporates fully into her wild moves.

While everyone will concede that Dillon is awesome, it’s hard to leave one of his shows without being enamored by Carly. If you are one of the many who has fallen in love, you’re in luck! The first four Wednesdays of October, Ms. Meyers will have a residency at the Maple Leaf with her band Yojimbo.

Along with Carly, the trio features Doc Sharp on keys and Adam Gertner on drums, both powerful musicians with a clear punk influence. Fans that have come to expect Carly’s crazy-fun antics will not be disappointed. She will wield her trombone like a samurai sword, she will put on scary skull masks, and she will play with streamers. The punk rock energy and infectious melodies will leave all in attendance powerless to do anything except dance and maybe grin uncontrollably.

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TVD Recommends:
The Head and The Heart
at the Civic Theatre, 10/1

This Wednesday, the Seattle favorites will be bringing their indie-folk rock to the Crescent City. The roots rockers are arguably the biggest grassroots success story in recent memory.

After recording and releasing their debut album on their own dime in 2010, the band was able to sell 10,000 copies by word of mouth alone. This is an impressive feat for any unsigned band, especially given the fact that so many people no longer buy music. And these fans weren’t just some teenyboppers.

They garnered the respect of such varied acts as Vampire Weekend, the Dave Matthews Band, Death Cab for Cutie, and My Morning Jacket, touring with many of the big names while they were still an unsigned commodity.

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