Monthly Archives: February 2009

Blues Foundation 2009 HoF Inductees

 

 

Included this year are
Taj Mahal, Irma Thomas, Son Seals, and Rev. Gary Davis.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

The Blues Foundation has announced the inductees for the
Blues Hall of Fame in 2009, including “Soul Queen of New
Orleans” Irma Thomas and multiple GRAMMY Award winner Taj
Mahal, as well as late Chicago
bluesman Son Seals and the Reverend Gary Davis.

 

 

Austin
club owner Clifford Antone, discographer Mike Leadbitter and author Bob Porter
will be the non-performers inducted this year. The book I Hear You Knockin’ by Jeff Hannusch was selected as a Classics of
Blues Literature. The induction ceremony will be held at The Blues Foundation’s
Charter Member Dinner on Wednesday, May 6, at the Memphis Marriott Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee,
the night before the 30th Blues Music Awards. Taj Mahal and Irma Thomas will
both attend the induction ceremony.

 

 

The following singles or album tracks will be inducted
during the ceremony: “Boom Boom” by John Lee Hooker;
“Caldonia” by Louis Jordan; and “Sitting on Top of the
World” by Mississippi Sheiks. These albums were also chosen for induction:
Amtrak Blues by Alberta Hunter; T-Bone Blues by T-Bone Walker; and the 2
CD set Blues With a Feeling (Newport
Folk Festival Classics) by Various Artists.

 

 

The Hall of Fame committee, consisting of scholars, record
producers, radio programmers, and historians, is chaired by Jim O’Neal,
founding editor of Living Blues.

 

 

The Blues Hall of Fame is a program of The Blues Foundation,
a non-profit organization established to preserve Blues history, celebrate
Blues excellence, support Blues education and ensure the future of this
uniquely American art form. The Foundation consists of a worldwide network of
165 affiliated Blues societies and has individual memberships spanning the
globe. In addition to the Blues Hall of Fame, the Foundation also produces the
Blues Music Awards, the International Blues Challenge and the Keeping the Blues
Alive Awards. For more information or to join The Blues Foundation: www.blues.org, natch.

 

Rick Rubin Returns to Hip-Hop!

 

 

Has to ask his beard’s
permission first… seriously, when was the last time you saw a rapper with a
beard?

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

EW.com is
reporting
that Rick Rubin is diving back into hip-hop, the musical milieu where
he initially made his name in the ‘80s producing the likes of the Beastie Boys,
LL Cool J and Run-DMC. Word has it the cochairman of Columbia Records and owner
of one of music’s great beards has just finished up some recording with The
Clipse in Malibu
and plans are to continue cutting a couple more tracks soon.

 

The Clipse album’s projected title is Til the Casket Drops is slated for sometime in the summer.

 

Rubin, of course, has focused more on rock in recent years,
working with Metallica, ZZ Top, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Neil Diamond and,
currently, North Carolina’s Avett Brothers.

 

 

Theresa Andersson For March Tour

 

 

One woman band
continues to wow the masses, is en route to SXSW.

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

BLURT fave Theresa
Andersson hits the road this weekend for yet another extended trek in support
of her frankly awesome 2008 album Hummingbird,
Go!
This comes on the heels of her viral YouTube run, a glowing review in
BLURT
followed by a best-of-2008 nod by BLURT, a well-received appearance on
the Conan O’Brien show and some major coverage in the Los Angeles Times (here and here).

 

 

Trust us on this one
– ya gotta see this lady do her one-woman show employing loops, pedals, guitar,
percussion and violin. The gig BLURT caught last fall was one of the year’s
highlights, no lie.

 

 

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

              
         2/28                 Birmingham,
AL             The Bottletree
                  
     3/01                 Decatur,
GA       
       Eddie’s Attic
                  
     3/04          Chapel Hill, NC          Local 506
                  
     3/05                 Charlottesville,
VA       
Gravity Lounge
                  
     3/06                 Norfolk,
VA               Attucks Theatre
                  
     3/07                 Vienna,
VA                 Jammin’ Java
                  
     3/10                 Philadelphia,
PA             Tin Angel
                  
     3/11                 Harrisburg,
PA                The Abbey Bar
                  
     3/12                 Pontiac,
MI         
       The Pike Room at The Crofoot
                  
     3/13                 Evanston,
IL               Space
                  
     3/14                 St.
Louis, MO      Blueberry Hill
                  
     3/18                 Austin,
TX                  SXSW @ Emo’s Annex
                  
     3/20                 Austin,
TX                  SXSW
@ Antone’s
                  
     3/23                 Nashville,
TN      
The Basement

 

 

Check the hype (all true):

 

 

 Raised in Sweden but based in New Orleans for over a decade, Theresa mines
her sonic roots of both homes on her gorgeous album Hummingbird, Go! (Basin Street
Records), an intriguing blend of breezy, 60s-era pop combined with soul, gospel
and Motown that features guest appearances by fellow Scandanavian Ane Brun and legendary New Orleans
producer and composer Allen Toussaint.

 

 

Released to critical
acclaim this past September, Hummingbird, Go! has sparked interest among music programmers,
the media and other tastemakers around the country.  Her single, “Birds Fly Away”, has been a KCRW “Top Tune”, and featured as an NPR’s “Song of the Day” Theresa also just shot a music
video for “Birds Fly Away,” which should be ready shortly.

 

 

 

Oh, and about that YouTube video for “Na Na Na”:

 

 

1 of 1500: A Ten-Year Poster Retrospective

(JDK/Higher Ground)

 

www.jdkdesign.com / www.highergroundmusic.com 

 

121 posters, 49 designers, 102 bands, 135 nights – let’s do
this! By now everyone knows that all those Fillmore-period concert posters,
featuring the eye-popping, brain-melting artwork of such psychedelicists as
Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelly and Rick Griffin, are not only viewed as significant
cultural artifacts but constitute high-ticket items on the memorabilia market,
too. In fact, pretty much any poster that pre-dates 1972 is greatly coveted by
collectors. The modern era probably hasn’t produced artists who can claim Great
Masters status alongside Mouse et al,
at least not yet, although it’s hard to say if that’s a shortcoming on the part
of the arts community or simply a reflection of the fact that in rock ‘n’ roll,
we tend to assign a value to an artifact according to which band it represents
(a Nirvana poster will fetch big bucks; one depicting, say,
popular-in-their-time-but-largely-forgotten-now Archers of Loaf, not so much)
as opposed to any intrinsic visual worth.

 

That’s a shame, however, for the artists of the near-past
and the contemporary milieu continue to produce provocative, eye-popping
designs every bit as memorable as their elders. Some of these artists are in fact
already considered iconic in certain underground quarters – Art Chantry, Derek
Hess, Frank Kozik, Coop, etc. – and it’s no surprise that the outsized cultural
imagery of the punk and garage scenes gave rise to many of these twisted
brush-wielders. (2004’s Sal Canzonieri-curated Electric Frankenstein poster book is a particularly outstanding
recent collection of images.)

 

1 of 1500 serves
up additional testimony via some 121 poster reproductions snatched off the
walls (figuratively speaking) of Burlington,
VT, concert venue Higher Ground.
The club opened in 1998 and this 6″x9″, 112-page volume serves as a ten-year
celebration of the club’s ongoing relationship with the with the Iskra Print
Collective and Jager Di Paola Kemp Design (JDK). Included are posters created
for Higher Ground shows by a who’s-who of the hipster world, among them Gov’t
Mule, My Morning Jacket, Feist, Beth Orton, Ween, The Dresden Dolls, Interpol,
Neko Case, Sonic Youth, Bright Eyes, Cat Power, Yo La Tengo, Kings of Leon,
Damien Rice, Rilo Kiley, Of Montreal, The Decemberists, Ryan Adams, Grace
Potter, Herbie Hancock, Dr. John, J.J. Cale, The Neville Brothers, Femi Kuti,
Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Ray La Montagne and more. It’s published in an edition of
– you guessed it – 1500, with each individual book numbered and boasting a
hand-silkscreened cover. (The one pictured on the Higher Ground site is red,
but my copy, numbered 892, had a blue swirl/marble design.) In a perfect world
the book would be printed in a size closer to the posters’ actual physical
dimensions, but one supposes a product clocking in at, say, 20″x20″ might be a
hard sell to retailers mindful of their available shelf space.

 

The foregoing laundry list of band names doesn’t convey the
visual impact here, however. Certainly, the posters themselves are arresting
enough in their own right. A 2000 Ozomatli concert poster by artist Randy
Ronquillo is designed like a Los Angeles street map grid and rendered as a
blueprint (it was originally printed on thin, unstable blueprint paper, in
fact, giving it an inherent collectible quality – if the collector is savvy
enough to store or display it properly); a 2006 Deerhoof/Fiery Furnaces gig is
commemorated by Erik Petersen with simple block lettering for the band names,
no other images, but the overlapping blues, greens, reds, yellows and oranges
make the letters pop out as if in 3D; and a stone(r) classic Ween poster from
’99, at the hands of Todd Wender, depicts a person, presumably a child,
standing in a bright yellow puddle of pee, which considering Ween’s frequent
forays into juvenile toilet humor, is rock ‘n’ roll self-referentiality at its
finest!

 

 

 

Giving the book additional clout is the inclusion of live
photos of some of the bands upon which the poster images are overlaid as insets.
A second Ween poster (by Mark Michaylira), this one displaying a childlike
ghost with, er, a big boner, joins a sweaty action shot of Ween; an ornate,
almost chaste Feist graphic (by Malcolm Buick of the Conscious Alliance), is
juxtaposed against a riotous photo of Feist crowded onstage by scores of
excited fans; a poster depicting an orange/red locomotive bearing the legend
Taj Mahal (by Steve Cousins) is accompanied by a shot of Taj, smiling, eyes
closed and playing his acoustic guitar, steady as a train.

 

Some of the pages contain short commentaries from the
designers as well as the bands themselves in order to provide more literal
context. The former give insights as to what inspired their particular designs,
while the latter offer their thoughts on the posters or memories of the actual
concerts. Feist, for example, reflects on her 2007 Higher Ground show, writing,
“I recall for some reason being seized with the desire to have the audience on
the stage with us, and so I asked them all up. Like being swallowed up by the
sea, it was a great feeling, but almost gave my tour manager a heart attack.
Sometimes seated theaters need to be messed with.”

 

 

 

Ultimately, what comes through the loudest – and I think
this applies to any particular musical period – is the psychic and
psychological relationships forged on canvas (or silkscreen or whatever the
medium) by the artists with their subjects. Journalist Pamela Polston, in her
introduction to the book, suggests exactly that when she discusses how the
downsizing of LP art in the CD era (and even further in the thumbnail/iPod era)
may have prompted a pushback from artists in the form of an uptick in concert
poster creation. “It’s no coincidence that most of the club’s posters are 15
inches square,” she writes. “Even for post-analog music fans, the shape is
iconic… Each of the posters in this book packs an idiosyncratic wallop –
created before the concerts they document, the images arose from the designers’
personal connection with their chosen bands.”

 

And that same sense of personal connection, of course, is
what makes all of us fans of the music we celebrate. Here’s a vote for
celebrating the artists such as those included in 1 of 1500 with equal gusto. FRED MILLS

 

[Images taken from HigherGroundMusic.com; ordering details
for the book are at the site]

 

 

 

 

Tim Easton Gets Stuck by “Porcupine”

 

Hard-twanging troubadour preps his fifth album.

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Tim
Easton has been driven westward both geographically and musically since his
college days in Ohio.
On his 5th album, Porcupine, due out
April 28th from New West Records, the Joshua Tree, CA resident  returns to his mid-western sound and lets a
myriad of guitar riffs rooted in blues, rock, and folk set the color for
observational lyrics capturing life from the desert to the sea and around
the world. The new album finds Tim’s writing skills sharpened, possibly
inspired by his friend and mentor Lucinda Williams. Easton, known for his
non-stop touring (from Dublin to Anchorage to Bangor to Jacksonville), will be
on the road with a band, supporting Porcupine beginning this Spring, including a stop in Austin, TX where Tim will appear at
several events during the South By Southwest convention, including the New West
Records day party. 

 

 

For
Porcupine, Tim went back to Alex The
Great and Club Roar studios in Nashville
to work with Brad Jones and Robin Eaton who produced his debut album, Special 20.   He wanted to “make some noise and get that
jagged, midwestern rock and roll sound again” so he hand-picked the
Ohio-based rhythm section – Sam Brown on drums (Gaunt, New Bomb Turks, RJD2)
and Matt Surgeson on bass and backing vocals (Matt also played on Special 20). Renowned guitarist Kenny
Vaughn, who Tim met playing in Lucinda’s band for her Car Wheels tour, played second guitar.

 

 

Porcupine visits the rough
edged and electric side of Tim’s recordings, although it’s an acoustic track
that provides the record’s shiniest moment in the pop-folk jangle of
“Seventh Wheel.”  Tim wrote the song
in as much time as it takes to sing it while staying at friend’s house in Dublin, and the band demanded that he record it for the
album after hearing the demo he made in Ireland.   As for the title Porcupine, Tim explains “I thought the physical animal called the porcupine
was a perfect symbol for the sound of this record in that it appears to be a
gentle and harmless creature from a distance but up close it is in fact sharp
and potentially dangerous.” 

 

 

Tim has released three
critically acclaimed albums on New West thus far: The Truth About Us (2001), Break
Your Mother’s Heart
(2003) and Ammunition (2006).   He has toured with label mates
John Hiatt and The Flatlanders, as well as with The Jayhawks and Lucinda
Williams.  Living in the village of Joshua Tree between tours has made more
time available for other creative endeavours such as painting and writing.  “There’s not much else to do out
here,” Tim remarked, “so going for long hikes with my dogs or making
music, paintings, and stories is what fills my average day at home.”  There will be an exhibition of Tim’s
paintings, which are folk art based pieces that focus on the guitar, at Yard
Dog Gallery in Austin
during this year’s SXSW conference.   A
series of 500 individually painted vinyl album jackets will be part of the
Porcupine release, and the New West CD release will feature Tim’s art on the
cover.

 

 

He is also the founder
and publisher of a community newsletter and ‘zine called The Joshua
Tree Republic.  

 

 

 

It’s Official: New Lily Allen Sucks

 

Sorry Lily. It’s not
us, it’s you.

 

By Fred Mills

 

The Academy has been polled, the voters have been sent home,
and the sergeant at arms has the final results. Envelope please…. It’s official
now: the new Lily Allen album It’s Not
Me, It’s You
is a major turd.

 

You can read what BLURT had to say in a critique posted
today at our CD reviews kiosk – or simply follow this link. Our crack reporter
(or reporter on crack, take your pick, Allen fans), citing Greg Kurstin’s “lifeless
production” on this “self-reflective, morning after album,” concludes that
despite the presence of a couple of catchy songs, “in the end, it’s just not
fun enough to make [the album] worth wrapping your head around.”

 

Lest you think we’re dumping on Lily needlessly, check out
the tepid critical tally over at Metacritic.com, in which Allen eked out a
middling 71% rating (based on 29 reviews thus far – hey Metacritic, will ours
knock that percentage down further?). While suck-ups like Britain’s Guardian, the NME and our own Entertainment
Weekly
and Blender awarded Allen
upwards of 80% in shameless bids to ensure that the dippy diva would continue to
grant them access on her upcoming tour, wiser heads prevailed over at PopMatters (60%), Paste (52%) and Uncut (a
scathing 20% – the reviewer terms that album, variously, “pallid,” “excruciating”
and an “extended moan”).

 

Craptastic, in other words. Sorry Lily. It’s not us, it’s you.

 

 

New Mastodon Pre-Order Goodies Offered

 

 

Better act fast, fans…
quantities limited, operators standing by to take your calls…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

Yesterday the mighty Mastodon kicked off a pre-order for Crack the Skye, their seven-song Brendan
O’Brien-produced opus, exclusively through iTunes. Those who pre-order the
album digitally will also be able to immediately download a new album track,
“Oblivion.” As a bonus, fans who order right away will also receive an
exclusive version of  “Oblivion” recorded
live on the UK’s
XFM radio and is not available anywhere else. 

 

 

 

ITunes will also offer a special deluxe pre-order package,
which includes the Crack the Skye digital
album along with the full album presented as a “score,” in its entirety.  The instrumental score version will invite
fans into a completely unique listening experience that enhances the music’s
sonic ebb and flow into a cinematic adventure.  The deluxe package will also include the live
XFM “Oblivion” track, and an exclusive PDF album booklet file. The downloadable
booklet contains album artwork and in-depth explanations of the intricate and
otherworldly concept behind the record.

 

 

 

On the same day, fans should directly proceed to www.mastodonrocks.com to purchase the
second in a series of extremely limited-edition fan packs, which consists of
the “Oblivion” single, along with the instrumental “score” version of the track,
and an exclusive Oblivion T-shirt that is not available outside this web
location. Cost of the fan-pack bundle is $24.99. T-shirts will be available in
all sizes and orders will be processed immediately.   All of the other items and editions mentioned
above will be delivered on the official album street date of  Mar.24.

 

 

 

Finally, www.cracktheskye.com is the newly launched and highly visual album-related website the band has
established specifically for the album.

 

 

 

Since the previous limited-edition fan pack, which featured
the “Divinations” single and related T-shirt, sold out immediately, and with
the Deluxe Crack the Skye CD + DVD
limited-edition “Tunnel Book” with lithograph nearly gone forever, fans should
not hesitate to visit the band’s websites today. Once these exclusive items have
sold out, they will not be produced again. More news will be announced shortly
so keep a close eye on  www.mastodonrocks.com and www.cracktheskye.com.

 

Torche Gets Fired Up w/EP, Tour

 

Mounts April tour with
From Monument To Masses and Dredg; also at Scion Rock Fest this weekend.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

News just in from the Torche camp: the Florida stoner/skronk
metal trio has a new 12″ EP + DVD en route from Hydra Head on March 10th. It features two tracks off last
year’s Meanderthal (“Healer” and “Across the Shields),
plus a pair of new song (“Mash it Up” and “Sugar Glider),
along with DVD of music videos
for “Healer and Across the
Shields!”

 

 

The 12″ album cover depicts behind-the-scenes images
from the band’s video shoot for “Across
The Shields.” You can check out the links to the release at
HydraHeadShop.com (and pre-order, natch) copies on purple, orange and black vinyl now.

 

To support the new release the band has announced US tour dates w/ From Monument to Masses and Dredg.

 

 

 

 

 

Tracklist for Healer
/ Across The Shields 12″ + DVD:

 

 

Side A: Healer / Across The Shields
Side B: Mash It Up / Sugar Glider
DVD: Healer (Music Video) / Across The Shields (Music Video)

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

 

2/28 Atlanta, GA @ The
Masquerade / Scion Rock
Fest
with Mastodon,
Neurosis, Harvey Milk, Boris, Converge, Coalesce, High On Fire, Trash Talk, Pig
Destroyer, more.

 

 

w/ From Monument to
Masses and Dredg
:

 

 

4/3 Portland, OR @ Hawthorne
Theatre
4/4 Bellingham, WA @ Nightlight
4/5 Seattle WA @ Neumo’s
4/7 Salt Lake City, UT @ Avalon Theater
4/8 Denver, CO @ The Marquis Theater
4/10 Minneapolis, MN @ Varsity Theater
4/11 Des Moines, IA @ Vaudville Mews
4/12 Chicago, IL @ Empty Bottle
4/13 Pontiac, MI @ Eagle Theater
4/15 Boston, MA @ Middle East Downstairs
4/16 Philadelphia, PA @ Theater of Living Arts
4/17 Lancaster, PA @ Chameleon Club
4/18 Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
4/19 New York, NY @ Highline Ballroom
4/21 Raleigh, NC @ The Brewery

 

 

Dinosaur Jr For SXSW, April Tour

 

Roadtesting material
from forthcoming studio album, giving away free singles… what’s not to like?

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

 

It’s the reunion that keeps on giving: Dinosaur Jr – no
period please, just “Jr” [Thanks. –
Purist Ed.]
– will be hitting the road on April Fool’s day (hmmm….) for a
monthlong tour that will take in the northeast, the south and parts of the midwest.
Prior to that will be a high profile stop in Austin for SXSW. This will all be a lead-in
to a proposed new studio album by the band, as the trio recently signed to Jagjaguwar and is planning on a summer release.

 

 

Also, tour ticket buyers will receive a limited edition 7″
(or corresponding download code for those dumb enough not to covet vinyl). According to the band’s website, “The band will be setting out in April to road
test new material in cozier settings than you might expect. Check out the Tour Page for
details. For the fortunate fans who score tickets to these select shows, they
will also receive a limited edition, tour-only 7″ or a digital download
code with the purchase of a ticket. The songs on this release were recorded
live during a Pitchfork.tv feature at J Mascis’ Bisquiteen Studios. The
A-Side is a new track entitled ‘I Don’t Want To Go There’ and is slated to
appear on the forthcoming full length, while the B-Side is a revisited classic ‘Tarpit’
from You’re Living All Over Me.

 

 

Er,
we’re not sure what they mean by “cozier settings” but some of the venues
listed below seat in the 750-1000 range…

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

 

3-20 Austin, TX – Cedar St. Courtyard
4-01 Milford, CT – Daniel Street
4-02 Providence, RI – Club Hell
4-03 Portland, ME – The Station
4-04 South Burlington, VT – Higher Ground
4-06 Buffalo, NY – The Town Ballroom
4-07 State College, PA – Lulu’s
4-08 Akron, OH – Musica
4-09 East Lansing, MI – The Small Planet
4-10 Bloomington, IN – Bluebird Nightclub
4-11 Dekalb, IL – Otto’s Nightclub
4-13 Chattanooga, TN – Rhythm and Brews
4-14 Memphis, TN – Minglewood Hall
4-15 Baton Rouge, LA – The Varsity Theatre
4-16 Little Rock, AR – Revolution Music Room
4-17 Fayetteville, AR – George’s Majestic Lounge
4-18 Oxford, MS – Proud Larry’s
4-20 Athens, GA – 40 Watt Club
4-21 Augusta, GA – Sky City
4-22 Gainesville, FL – Common Grounds
4-23 Tallahassee, FL – The Moon
4-24 Jacksonville Beach, FL – Freebird Live
4-25 Charleston, SC – The Music Farm
4-26 Asheville, NC – The Orange Peel
4-27 Carrboro, NC – Cat’s Cradle
4-29 Charlotte, NC – Neighborhood Theatre
4-30 Richmond, VA – Toad’s Place Richmond
5-01 Lancaster, PA – Chameleon Club
5-02 Baltimore, MD – Ottobar

 

 

 

Big Whoop: Barenaked Ladies Guy Quits

 

No word on whether he
was vacationing on this island with Amy Winehouse…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

If we’re lucky, this will be the last-ever time you see the
name Barenaked Ladies in BLURT, so keep your fingers crossed – we can only hope
that nobody in the band, like, collaborates with somebody famous, or (ahem)
gets busted for drugs… hangs out with strippers… records a children’s album…. dies….
You get the drift. Media reports are coming in saying that the band’s vocalist
Steven Page has been fired, er, we mean, is quitting to go solo.

 

In some fairly meaningless commentary posted to the Ladies’
website, the parting is by mutual agreement and the remaining four guys will
soldier on as a band (a new album is due later this year) while Page will “pursue
solo projects including theatrical opportunities.” (Memo to Page: Word has it
that a Broadway adaptation of Rush may be in the works.)

 

 

Page’s statement:” These guys are my brothers. We’ve grown
up together over the past twenty years. I love them and wish them all the best
in the future.”

The band’s: “It’s the start of a new chapter for all of us. Here’s to the
future!”

 

 

Feel free to revisit BLURT’s Barenaked files: HERE we
discuss Page’s July 2008 bust for blow, detail the band’s dalliances with
strippers, and tell you a bit about that children’s album they released shortly
before the cocaine incident, while HERE we examine the subsequent heartache in
the kids-music world when the Ladies were removed from the bill a
Disney-sponsored children’s benefit concert. Life, it seems, is short and
cruel, especially when you name your band Barenaked Ladies.