Monthly Archives: November 2008

George Bush DOES Care About Black People!

 

 

Next up: give the White
House a spiffy paint job over the holidays prior to the Obamas moving in….

 

By Fred Mills

 

President Bush yesterday pardoned imprisoned producer/Fugees
member John Forte for his conviction for cocaine possession with intent to
distribute. It marked a stunning attitudinal turnaround for Mr. Bush, who
through 8 years of his administration’s outrageous neglect of anyone not very
white and very rich had earned a (deserved) reputation for not exactly being
down with the African-American community.

 

As Kanye West put it a few years ago in the Katrina
aftermath during an NBC telethon, “George Bush does not care about black
people.”

 

But by letting a convicted African-American drug dealer out of the slammer as
he nears the end of his term, Bush finally demonstrated the compassion and
empathy we’ve always demanded from our leaders. Perhaps his first move after
returning to Texas
will be to put up a tent city on his sprawling ranch where still-displaced
Katrina victims can start over again?

 

The Grammy-winning Forte was busted in 2000 at Newark airport with 31 pounds of coke in his briefcases
and was later sentenced to 14 years in Fort Dix.
He’s now looking at a December 22 release seven years early but will be
monitored after his release for a five years supervised probation period. Merry
Christmas, John – but let’s not make it a white Christmas this year, if you
know what we sayin’ hmm?

 

***

 

On a more serious note: 
isn’t just about FUCKING TIME THAT LEONARD PELTIER was freed from prison
after more then 30 years behind bars? His murder convictions remain highly
contentious and tons of questions linger – the Forte case was pretty cut and dry, if you get right down to it.

 

New Jason Isbell Rec Due in Feb.

 

Second Isbell platter is his first one to feature his
band The 400 Unit.

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

 

BLURT
hero Jason Isbell returns next year with his second studio album since leaving
the Drive-By Truckers two years ago. Lightning Rod Records will release Isbell
and The 400 Unit’s eponymous album on February 17, his first release with his
touring band. The 400 Unit is Derry deBorja
(keyboards), Jimbo Hart (bass) and Browan Lollar (guitar). Matt Pence
(Centro-matic/South San Gabriel)
lends his talents as co-producer, drummer and engineer.

 

 

The
album was co-produced by Isbell and The 400 Unit with Matt Pence. “I want
it to be known that it’s a band record,” says Isbell. “I want it to
be known that it’s something we all did together. Even though I wrote the
songs, it was a very inclusive project.” Isbell has posted the new track,
“Seven-Mile Island,” on the band’s MySpace
site.

 

 

The
album was recorded at the renowned FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, AL. Isbell,
who Details Magazine calls “one of America’s best young
songwriters,” is following in the tradition of American songwriters who
have recorded in North Alabama. Much like Arthur Alexander, Eddie Hinton and
Spooner Oldham, Isbell mixes a soulful vocal style with songs that are
passionate and unrepentant in their sense of place and direct in their stubborn
Southerness.

 

 

Isbell
and The 400 Unit have played over 200 dates since the release of Sirens Of
The Ditch
 (including All Points West, Voodoo Music Experience and
WXPN Freedom Fest) and will announce the first round of their 2009 dates soon.

 

 

Meanwhile,
don’t forget to check the BLURT video section – we’ve got some exclusive clips
of Isbell performing acoustic versions of Sirens material along with interview material (such as the origin of the name “The 400
Unit”) filmed in Asheville, NC, earlier this year.

 

 

TRACKLIST

 

1. 
Seven-Mile Island                        

2. 
Sunstroke

3. 
Good

4. 
Cigarettes and Wine

5. 
However Long

6. 
Coda

7. 
The Blue

8. 
No Choice in the Matter

9. 
Soldiers Get Strange

10.
Streetlights

11. 
The Last Song I Will Write

 

 

[Photo
Credit: Allison V. Smith]

 

 

 

Ego Smackdown! Axl Vs. Kanye

 

Or more accurately,
media smackdown for both of the spoiled, overindulgent stars.

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

That wheezing noise? It’s the dying gasp of the music biz
circa 2008 – the end of the world as we knew it, yo – as the very last
blockbuster releases hit record stores (or Best Buy, as the case may be). With
Sunday’s arrival of Guns N’ Roses’ Chinese
Democracy
and yesterday’s release of Kanye West’s 808s and Heartbreak, the end game is finally nigh.

 

No official sales figures have circulated yet, and both
records, admittedly, will probably do gangbusters compared to, say, the latest
Matador or Sub Pop title. But there seems to be a collective shrug taking place
across America
as we approach the holiday season, traditionally the period when major record
labels roll out all their big guns and attempt to blow things up real good for
the fourth quarter.

 

(One subtle indicator that the major label landscape is not looking all that great: in 2008 a
zillion indie bands have scheduled albums with street dates in November and
December, whereas in years past there was a mad rush to get everything out well
before the end of October so they’d have at least a shot at grabbing the
attention of critics and consumers before the big-event titles started
arriving.)

 

The New York Times in particular took the lead with a dismissive tone towards both GNR and West already
being echoed by a lot of reviewers. They called Chinese Democracy “the Titanic of rock albums: the ship, not the
movie, although like the film it’s a monumental studio production. It’s
outsize, lavish, obsessive, technologically advanced and, all too clearly, the
end of an era… a loud last gasp from the reign of the indulged pop star,” and 808s and Heartbreak “at best, [a] rough
sketch for a great album, with ideas he would have typically rendered with
complexity, here distilled to a few words, a few synthesizer notes, a lean
drumbeat. At worst, it’s clumsy and underfed, a reminder that all of that
ornamentation served a purpose. After all, what is Kanye West without scale?”

 

And what is the record industry without scale too, hmm?

 

At any rate, we at BLURT have reviewed both albums this week
(see below for the links), the Gunners getting a healthy-but-guarded 8 stars
(out of 10 possible) and Kanye notching a disappointing “6”. Reviewer Jose
Martinez writing about Chinese Democracy,
observed that Axl Rose & Co. couldn’t possibly meet the expectations that
had been raised over the past 17 years but that overall “it’s still pretty easy
to get swept away by the sheer magnitude of the disc.” Meanwhile, Jason Gross
was somewhat circumspect regarding the West album, noting that the
rapper/producer seemed to be taking a few steps back rather than his usual
forward-looking stance, adding, “It sounds like this album could use a creative
producer who would push the artist into edgier territory.”

 

 

Read ‘em:

 

 

Guns N’ Roses Chinese
Democracy:
www.blurt-online.com/reviews/view/618/

 

Kanye West 808s and
Heartbreak:
www.blurt-online.com/reviews/view/619/

 

 

Jay Bennett Free Album Giveaway

 

 

One of two records
Bennett has been working on at the same time offered as download.

 

 

Erstwhile Wilco member Jay Bennett is back in the public eye
this week with the release of his new album – however, it’s not the expected Kicking at the Perfumed Air, which had been reported on previously
in the press. The record is titled Whatever
Happened I Apologize
, and it’s a project the multiinstrumentalist
songwriter was working on concurrently with Kicking.

 

Bennett simply decided he wanted to put this one out first,
saying in a statement he issued today, “It just felt more like the right album
for the time,” and describing it as “stark, stripped down, and acoustic
based-more so than any other record I have made. I really wanted to capture the
simpler and more emotional nature of the songwriting, and I knew that the only
way I could do this was to put it together quickly, with no second-guessing,
and no heavy deliberating about minor details.” (See below for the full
statement.)

 

But there’s more: he’s offering it as a free download via
digital label Rockproper: www.rockproper.com.
Go to the site and click on the Bennett LP sleeve image on the right-hand side
of the page and you can get the download and check out the relevant recording
notes. And meanwhile, check out Bennett on the web at www.myspace.com/jaybennett.

 

 

***

 

From Jay Bennett:

 

 

As anyone keeping a
watchful eye on me has noticed, October came and went without the release of
“Kicking at the Perfumed Air.” The reason for this: In the final
stages of completing “Kicking at the Perfumed Air,” at Pieholden
Suite Sound (http://www.myspace.com/pieholdenstudios),
I was simultaneously working on a very personal and concise 10-song album
called “Whatever Happened I
Apologize.” After debating back and forth, I have decided to
release “Apologize” first. I am somewhat at a loss for words as to
explain why I arrived at this decision, save to say it’s just one of those
lonely and private choices one sometimes has to make-in other words, it just
felt more like the right album for the time.


It is stark, stripped down, and acoustic based-more so than any other record I
have made. I really wanted to capture the simpler and more emotional nature of
the songwriting, and I knew that the only way I could do this was to put it
together quickly, with no second-guessing, and no heavy deliberating about
minor details. Consequently I would have to learn to embrace the resultant
imperfections-and I have. All of the vocals are done live to my own acoustic
guitar accompaniment, so it has some “warts,” but, in my effort to not forsake
integrity for technical perfection, the album ended up feeling more honest,
immediate, naked, and cohesive to me. I am very proud of presenting myself
without my typical voluminous bells and whistles. I am left wondering why I
haven’t done this more often in the past.

As I’ve really wanted to help out my studio partner, Matt DeWine, and his
partner Casey Meehan, with their new “download record label,” rockproper,
that’s just where you can find this new album: http://www.rockproper.com.
Again, it’s called “Whatever Happened I Apologize,” and did I mention
it’s free? I hope you enjoy it. Please let me know what you think. I would also
like to encourage you all to check out some of the other free downloads, by
some of the great artists, available on the site.


Love,
Jay

 

Diplo Pulls a Radiohead!

 

 

Offers
pay-what-you-want mixtape.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

Diplo and Benzi present Paper Route Recordz – Fear and
Loating in Hunts Vegas
is the title of the latest mixtape from the
ever-prolific mixmaster Diplo. It features tracks from Blaqstarr, B.O.S.S.,
Money Adict, PRGz and other hotter-than-hot artists, and get this: Diplo’s
label, Mad Decent, is offering it up Radiohead style.

 

That’s right: it’s a pay-what-you-want release, available at
the Mad Decent site:

 

www.maddecent.com/paperroute/

 

If you opt to pay between, uh, nuthin’ and $4.99, you’ll get
a not-shabby 192kbps version, but if you cough up five bucks or more you’ll get
an impressive 320kbps edition containing five bonus tracks.

 

What ya waitin’ on, dawgs?

 

 

Track List:

 

 

01. Blaqstarr feat. Jhi-Ali - Stuntastic (prod by Diplo)
02. Jackie Chain feat. Jhi Ali - Rollin' (Diplo Remix)
03. PRGz - Woodgrain (Emynd Remix)
04. B.O.S.S. feat. G-Side - Real Good
05. B.O.S.S. feat. X.O. - Naturalz Pt. 2
06. Big P.O.P.E. feat Wale - Don't Go (Diplo Remix)
07. Dawgy Baggz feat. Money Addict & B. Dewitt- Travelin
08. Untamed feat Dawgy Baggz - Shotz
09. PRGz - Bama Gettin' Money (Diplo Remix)
10. Mata feat Mali Boi, M.P. & Big P.O.P.E. - Streetz
11. Jhi-Ali feat Cooley Da Dude & Big P.O.P.E. - Alabama
12. X.O - Grind Baby
13. PRGz - Soul Glo (The Knocks Remix)
14. X.O feat Mali Boi & CeeCee - 100
15. Money Addict feat Pluck - Hood Celebrity (Diplo Remix)
16. Money Addict - Life, Money & Drugs (Diplo Remix)
 
 
bonus tracks ( $5.00 and over )
 
17. PRGz - Woodgrain
18. PRGz - Bama Gettin' Money
19. PRGz - Soul Glo
20. Money Addict feat Pluck - Hood Celebrity
21. Amp G - Lookin Good

 

New Miranda Lee Richards Rec En Route

 

 

 

No word yet on her
track-by-track remake of Master Of Puppets, however…

 

By Mandy Rodgers

 

Composing all of the material on the album, Miranda Lee
Richards has combined varying musical genres including country, classical, folk
and psychedelic in Light of X, set to
be released Feb. 10 on Nettwerk. The 13-track album can already be previewed on
her MySpace (www.myspace.com/mirandaleerichards)
with the first single, “Early November” “Life Boat,” which was released last
year in England and hit
airwaves on Indie 103.1 FM in Los
Angeles.

 

 

Richards began her music career, believe it or not, after
her best friend began dating Metallica’s Kirk Hammett. Hammett taught her
guitar, and she recorded a demo in his studio basement. She moved to LA to try
and receive a record deal, and The
Herethereafter
, which led to her song’s finding spots on film and
television.

 

Last year, Richards toured with The Jesus and Mary Chain, but
hipsters all know her for her brief but memorable tenure with none other than
the Brian Jonestown Massacre.

 

ATP NY 2009 Announces 1st Acts

 

Festival Changes
Dates:  Now Scheduled For Sept 11-13,
2009

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

This info just slipped over the BLURT transom…

 

***

 

 

All Tomorrow’s Parties (ATP) is happy to announce its return
to Kutsher’s Country Club in Monticello, New York for the 2nd annual ATP New York festival. The event will be held Sept 11-13, 2009 (moved
from Labor Day weekend as previously announced). Last year’s festival,
co-curated by My Bloody Valentine, was a critical and cultural success with
rave reviews from media and fans.

 

 

Expect more of the same greatness in 2009, with
no-holds-barred programming both musically and otherwise. While we have yet to
announce the co-curator of the event at this time, we are happy to announce the
first seven artists slated for the festival.

 

 

Existing tickets will work for the new dates. If you are
holding a ticket and the new dates do not work for we are happy to offer a full
refund.

 

 

Friday Don’t Look Back/Comedy

 

Dirty Three Performing Ocean
Songs

Suicide Performing First LP (Suicide)

 

David Cross – Hosting Comedy Stage

 

 

Saturday curated by ATP

 

Animal Collective

Anti-Pop Consortium

Atlas Sound

Panda Bear

 

 

Sunday Curator TBA in the coming weeks

 

 

 

Tickets are $235 + $12 booking fee; accommodations available
at Kutsher’s and the nearby Raleigh Resort (on sale from today).Tickets and
full information available from www.atpfestival.com

 

 

 

New Vid: Hold Steady “Stay Positive”

 

Live, from New York City, it’s the
Hold Steady!

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

The Hold Steady new video “Stay Positive” debuted today
on MySpace
. Directed by Jake Davis, the video for the track was filmed in New York City in
September and shows the band tearing through the Stay Positive title track on billboards and walls throughout the
city.

 

Meanwhile, check out this just as cool live version from the Conan show back in August:

 

 

CHANNEL GUIDE: Mon – Tom Morello

 

 

Compiled by Blurt Staff

 

206 digital, satellite and hi-def channels and nothin’ on?
Not likely. Here are BLURT’s top music television picks of the day. The time is
followed by the network/cable/satellite channel, then the name of the program
and/or featured artist(s). All times are EST. For a comprehensive hour-by-hour
listing, go to the VH1 Rock On TV site.
Note that for certain channels, shows frequently repeat during the day on or
subsequent days.

 

 

TIME (EST) / CHANNEL
/ PROGRAM / ARTIST(S)

 

9:00 AM: SYN: The Bonnie Hunt Show: Lance Bass

 

11:00 AM ABC: The View: Tony Bennett

 

12:00 PM Sundance: Derailroaded: Inside the Mind of Larry
“Wild Man” Fischer

 

5:00 PM SOAP: Beverly
Hills, 90210: Love Hurts w/The Flaming Lips

 

9:00 PM RAVE HD: From The Basement: Beck , Jamie Lidell ,
Jarvis Cocker

 

11:00 PM FUSE: Akonomics 101 w/Akon

 

11:00 PM PLD HD: Wattstax w/Isaac Hayes , The Bar-Kays ,
Luther Ingram , Johnnie Taylor , Rufus Thomas , Carla Thomas

 

11:30 PM PBS: Tavis Smiley: James Taylor

 

11:35 PM CBS: The Late Show With David Letterman: Kanye West

 

11:35 PM NBC: The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Jonas Brothers

 

12:05 AM ABC: Jimmy Kimmel Live: The Killers

 

12:35 AM NBC: Late Night with Conan O’Brien: Tom Morello/The Nightwatchman

 

12:37 AM CBS: The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson: Low vs
Diamond

 

1:35 AM NBC: Last Call with Carson Daly: Young Jeezy

 

3:00 AM BBCA: The Graham Norton Show: Tori Amos

 

 

 

 

Amy Winehouse Goes Splitsville!

 

 

Hey, see what you miss
by not checking out celebrity new on weekends?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

First, an apology: We apologize for occasionally frequenting
the UK
tabloids’ websites. But, hey, we’re so used to standing in the checkout line at
the local Bi-Lo waiting to have our groceries, beer and smokes rung up while we
glom the latest celeb trash update that we can’t help peeking at the overseas
online tabloid milieu, too, just to find out who on the other side of the pond playing
the Peruvian marching dance,  who’s
headed to rehab, what star has a simmering beef with some other star, who’s
been adopting the proverbial “wide stance” in the public bathrooms, and of
course what public figures have been getting the most trim.

 

 

We’re exhausted just typing that last paragraph. So let’s
cut to the chase: Amy Winehouse, according to a report in the most recent News Of The World, has apparently
declared her marrage to the recently-released-from-the-slammer Blake
Fielder-Civil to be over. Kaput. Pushing up daisies. Singing with the choir
invisible. A dead parrot, er, union.

 

“It’s over,” Winehouse was attributed as saying to friends/associates (note
that these quotes are not culled from official, on-the-record interviews, but from
the proverbial “sources” that tabloids rely so heavily on). “There’s no way
back for us now. It was never going to last. We were only together for SEX. I
fancied him like mad, like no one else I’ve ever known. But it’s not enough, is
it?”

 

No, no, Amy, it’s not. It’s never enough, in fact. First, there’s love, then
there’s marriage, and then there’s the fucking baby carriage. Your as-yet-unborn
crack kid thanks you for the latter part remaining unresolved with Blake.

 

For the rest of you, if you want to read about (we quote directly from the
news report here, including the capitalization), Winehouse’s man’s reported
obsession with model Sophie Schandorff, stuff regarding a “wild sex life,”
drugs and “kinky stuff,” “a string of female lovers” and “LESBIAN ROMPS and
sordid THREESOMES,” click on the provided link.

 

Wow, who writes this crap. (Waitaminnit… we just did…)

 

Just make sure you don’t get distracted by the stuff on the right-hand side
of the page – you know, the stories about “Church Girl Is Porn Star,” “Sex: I
Have 200 Orgasms A Day” and “Hookers Tell About Millionaire Stars”  and other, uh, stuff. Come to think of it,
though – beats the hell out of standing in line at Bi-Lo…

 

 

These are hookers, not Amy and Blake: