Monthly Archives: March 2009

LOOK AT LIFE / COCO HAMES

 

…for those who want to be extra-afraid of Coco….

 

 

By COCO HAMES

 

 

The computer game The
Sims
was released in the spring of 2000, the same year I left for my first
semester at the University
of Florida.  I am an
unapologetic Luddite, so when I received this game for my birthday, I figured
I’d never play it.  How very wrong I was.  Nine years later, it is
still the only game on my computer, and I am still involved.  With the
original.  I’ve been told new versions have come on the scene, but they
don’t interest me, mostly because I can’t be bothered to learn new
technology.  I barely use a telephone.  These “apps” you
speak of intrigue me, but I wouldn’t know the first thing about using one.

When I write songs, as I’m currently expected to, as we’re working on our third
album, I have to have complete privacy.  I have to be completely
alone.  So everyone knows, when Coco gets
her Sims out and nestles down into bed, she’ll be infuriatingly impossible to
reach for a day or two, but my time in the Sims k-hole will yield, usually,
about two or three new songs.

It’s not just that I enjoy building houses, furnishing them, designing
landscaping, and controlling everyone’s every move.  It’s not just that I
have all of the original expansion packs, so my Sims are wizards, animals, and
movie stars.  There are stories.  There are lives!  There are
long running undercurrents of love, loss, frustration, anxiety, and
despair.  Sim neighbors gaze upon Sim neighbors and lament never making a
move before the mustachioed doctor got married, etc.

One of the most intriguing story lines running through my current Sims world is
that of Rome Bidgert.  And yes, part of the fun is naming them.  Rome is a simple, time
traveling conduit of magical energy, placed in these modern times, currently in
the form of a big black guy with an eye patch.  Luckily, there exists a
magical village where the magic-at-heart can get away from all mod cons and go
shopping for dragon scales and participate in wizard duels.  It was in
this very magical village that Rome
heard tell of a strange cat, a stray that had wandered into town and been
picked up by — who else! — the Sim community’s most powerful wizard, Charles
Moribund.

Rome made his
way to Charles’ home and knew, from the very moment he laid eyes on the cat,
that it wasn’t a cat at all, but the age old time traveling spirit of the
legendary witch Minuit!  Rome
convinced Charles to cast a spell on the cat, a spell which would restore it to
its true form, that of a tall, pale mocha skinned woman.  Charles was
reluctant, but cast the spell, and lo and behold, the cat turned into an
elegant, bespectacled lady: Minuit!

Initially, Minuit was confused and cagey; she didn’t know where she was or who
the people were around her.  Rome
left Charles’ house discouraged, but hopeful that Minuit would return to
herself in time.  But Charles — being the experienced and resourceful Sim
wizard that he is — brewed her a strong potion that inverted her personality,
and Minuit instantly remembered who she was!  BUT THEN!  When Rome returned on a visit to check up on her that she
recognized the soul of the love of her life, deep behind Rome’s eyes, the eyes that had of course
instantly recognized his beloved Minuit in the guise of a stray feline. 
Um, eye.  Because of the eye patch. . 

So now Rome and
Minuit live together in a compound on the edge of the magical forest where they
raise children and send them off to magical “military” school one by
one to form a dark army in preparation for the battles they know are coming.

Poni says I can’t go near the World of Warcraft.

 

 

*****

 

 

Blurt “co-co-editor”
Coco Hames fronts The Ettes – Hames on guitar, Jem Cohen on bass and Poni
Silver on drums – whose latest album
Look At Life Again Soon (Take Root) is still a hot item-but look out for a new
EP,
Danger Is, on April 7 (already out digitally, www.myspace.com/theettes), and a Dan Auerbach-produced limited-edition
single this month. They tore it up at the Hold Steady showcase At SXSW in Austin, by the way. The
real Austin, not the Sims-world Austin.

 

 

Free Bob Dylan Tune Today Only!

 

Killer track from the
new album.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Better hotfoot it over to Bob Dylan’s official website right
now: for today only – from midnight March 30 to midnight March 31 that is – the
song “Beyond Here Lies Nothin'” is available as a free MP3 download. The
swampy, New Orleans-flavored tune’s got an irresistible groove spiced with
accordion, snaky guitars and of course the Bard’s signature sleek vocals.

 

It’s taken from, of course, the upcoming Dylan record Together Through Life, due from Columbia on April 28.

 

 

Green Day’s "Idiot” Hits Theater

 

Well, here’s hoping it’s more Tommy than Graceland at least… but didn’t we kill off the rock
opera back in the ‘70s?

 

By
Blurt Staff

 

Green
Day won two Grammy Awards – Best Rock Album and Record of the Year – with its
multi-platinum American Idiot, which
sold more than 12 million copies worldwide. Today the band announced plans to
bring that explosive album to the stage by collaborating with Michael Mayer,
renowned director of Spring Awakening, which grabbed eight Tony Awards
including Best Director and Best Musical in 2007. The new show – also titled American Idiot – will receive its world
premiere right in the guys’ backyard at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, the
Tony-winning playhouse that launched last year’s provocative rock musical Passing Strange.  Berkeley Rep will
produce the show in association with Tom Hulce and Ira Pittleman, the lead
producers of Spring Awakening. 

 

 

 Mayer and Green Day, along with Olivier
Award-winning choreographer Steven Hoggett, recently completed a workshop of American Idiot in New York, which was also produced by
Berkeley Rep.

 

 

The
show includes every song from the album, as well as several new songs from
Green Day’s upcoming release, 21st Century
Breakdown
.

 

 

American Idiot will run from Sept. 4 –
Oct. 11, opening Berkeley Rep’s 2009-10 season in the state-of-the-art Roda
Theatre. A limited number of seats go on sale today at www.berkeleyrep.org .

 

 

American Idiot follows working-class characters
from the suburbs to the city to the Middle East,
as they seek redemption in a world filled with frustration. This high-octane
show will blend an onstage band and an ensemble of 19 young performers.

 

 

“We
are really excited to be working with Michael Mayer on this project,” said
Green Day’s frontman Billie Joe Armstrong, in a statement. “We’d been
thinking of bringing American Idiot to the stage, but knew we needed to find
the right partners. After meeting with Michael to discuss the possibility, he
invited us to see Spring Awakening.
We were so impressed with that production, as well as his vision for American Idiot, that we knew we’d found
the perfect collaborator. Plus, doing it in our hometown at Berkeley Rep was an
obvious bonus. They’re an amazing theatre group, very adventurous, and their
willingness to take chances is in keeping with the spirit of the album. The end
result will be terrific, and we’re really proud.”  

 

 

“When
I first heard American Idiot, I was
struck by its innate theatricality,” Mayer added in a statement. “Here
was a new musical drama begging to be staged. Who would have thought that
one of the most brutally honest, eloquent, passionate, funny, and poetic
theatrical responses to the post 9-11 world would be a Green Day record? The
connection I felt to American Idiot surprised me. I knew and liked Green Day, but had no clue that I would ever
feel so inside their songs. This work of passion and vision and fierce
intelligence seemed to me like the heartbeat of a generation of Americans who
were fed up. I hear in these amazing songs the articulation of their
frustration, anger, longing for a better world – a journey from apathy to
action. Collaborating with Billie Joe and the band is a mind-blowing
thrill, and I can’t wait to begin production at Berkeley Rep, the perfect home
for making a new kind of musical event.”  

 

“Green
Day is a band that we’ve long admired here in Berkeley and championed as one of our
own,” said Tony Taccone, artistic director of Berkeley Rep. “American Idiot is an iconic album, and
having the opportunity to bring it to the stage is a bit of a dream come true.
To preserve the original intention of the album while creating a stage-worthy
experience is a challenge that we relish, and bringing a director with the
skill and experience of Michael Mayer into our theatre makes it that much
sweeter.”  

 

 

 

Tickets
to American Idiot are already available
now for preview performances on select evenings early in the run: Friday,
September 4; Saturday, September 5; Wednesday, September 9; Thursday, September
10; and Sunday, September 13. Tickets to these shows are priced at a special
rate – only $32 to $54 – and may only be purchased online at www.berkeleyrep.org.

 

 

 

All Points West fest Roster Announced

 

Tool, Echo & The
Bunnymen, My Bloody Valentine, Vampire Weekend, MGMT, Neko Case, Yeah Yeah
Yeahs and tons more
.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

The second annual ALL POINTS WEST MUSIC & ARTS FESTIVAL
returns to Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey Friday, July 31,
Saturday, August 1 and Sunday, August 2 with Beastie Boys, Tool and Coldplay
set to headline the three-day, multi-stage music and arts festival.  ALL POINTS WEST will also feature
performances from Echo & The Bunnymen, My Bloody Valentine, Vampire
Weekend, MGMT, MSTRKRFT, Gogol Bordello, The Black Keys, Fleet Foxes, Neko
Case, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arctic Monkeys and more than 65 artists appearing
throughout the 80-acre historic location that has panoramic views of the Statue
of Liberty, Ellis Island and the Manhattan
skyline.  See the full lineup, as
announced thus far, below.

 

 

Tickets go on sale this Friday, April 3 at 12 noon via
Ticketbastard.  Single day tix are $89
and three day passes are $199 for a limited time, and there’s also a layaway
option available through May 29. Go to www.apwfestival.com for details.

 

 

A portion of the event’s proceeds will benefit “Friends of
Liberty State Park.”  The Friends of
Liberty State Park is an open space advocacy volunteer organization dedicated
to the park’s future as a free, green and non-commercial, urban waterfront
oasis.

 

 

LINEUP:

 

 

Friday, July 31: Beastie Boys, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Vampire Weekend, The National, Fleet Foxes,
MSTRKRFT, Q-Tip, The Pharcyde, Organized Konfusion, The Knux, Ra Ra Riot,
Seasick Steve, Telepathe, Shearwater, Heartless Bastards, Flying Lotus, College
Humor Live, Arj Barker, Eugene Mirman and Bo Burnham.

 

 

Saturday, August 1: Tool, My Bloody Valentine, Gogol Bordello, Arctic Monkeys, Neko Case, The Ting
Tings, Yelle, Crystal Castles, St. Vincent, Tokyo Police Club, The Cool Kids,
Kool Keith, Cage the Elephant, Chairlift, White Rabbits, Electric Touch, The
Postelles, Black Gold, College Humor Live, Tim & Eric, Judah Friedlander
and Jim Jeffries.

 

 

Sunday, August 2: Coldplay, Echo & The Bunnymen, MGMT, The Black Keys, Elbow, Silversun
Pickups, Mogwai, We Are Scientists, Ghostland Observatory, The Gaslight Anthem,
Etienne De Crecy, Lykke Li, Akron/Family, Steel Train, Kitty, Daisy &
Lewis, College Humor Live, Janeane Garofalo, Michael Showalter and Todd Barry.

 

 

 

Poison Arrows Prep Debut LP

 

Chicago band’s full length debut is set for May 12 release on File 13.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

After two CDEP’s,
Chicago’s The Poison Arrows return with their long-awaited debut album First Class, and Forever.  Guitarist, keyboardist,
and vocalist Justin Sinkovich (ex Atombombpocketknife) first released a solo EP
entitled Trailer Park as The Poison Arrows in 2004 on
File Thirteen.  He, drummer Adam Reach, and bassist Patrick Morris (ex Don
Caballero) then began playing together. While completing the overdubbing,
editing, and mixing of their first EP Straight Into The Drift in their studio The Plaza, The Poison Arrows began
to write songs together as a band. After a year had passed, far more than an
album’s worth of music materialized.

 

The Poison Arrows then went into Steve
Albini’s Electrical Audio Studio A with staff engineer and long- time friend
Greg Norman to record the basic tracks for over a dozen songs. After completing
the basic tracks at Electrical, all of the overdubs were recorded at The Plaza.
As the band continued to finish mixes for First
Class, and Forever
, the second EP Casual Wave was completed from the same sessions. 

 

The release of Casual Wave in August of 2008 showed a substantial
evolution of The Poison Arrows into a band. The sounds from Electrical Audio
are embraced instead of drastically manipulated like the previous EP, while
overdubs follow structures that were previously decided upon by live arrangements.

 

First Class, and Forever takes these Electrical sessions far further with
more complex songwriting and instrumentation. Patrick Morris’s bass playing
anchors the songs’ melodies with complex compositions and an unusually
extensive array of bass effects. Drummer Adam Reach provides thunderous
drumming captured in classic Albini form. Sinkovich instrumentally relies on a
maze of guitar lines and a variety of synthesizers sounds, while his vocals
glue together each meandering soundtrack with a stark delivery of heady prose.
Brian Case from The Ponys, 90 Day Men, and Disappears contributes vocals with
Sinkovich on two of the album’s tracks “Total Beverage” and “Twenty Percent
Brighter.”   Eric Chaleff from Sterling,
Follows, and Bloodiest adds striking guitar lines on “Twenty Percent Brighter”
as well.  The combination of this wide variety of elements has created a
complex and intense post-progressive neo-surrealist ten-track album.

 

The Poison Arrows have toured in the Midwest
and East Coast with the likes of Battles, Holy Fuck, Boris, Bellini, Lords,
Department of Eagles, Enon, Thalia Zedek, Indian, Born Ruffians, Cadence
Weapon, Dianogah, Shipping News, School
of Language, and many
more. They will be touring extensively for the release of First Class, and Forever.

 

First Class, and
Forever Tracklist

1. Future Wine
2.
Total Beverage

3. Fire Up the Happiness
Center
4. Twenty Percent Brighter
5. Casual Wave
6. An Unexploded Dream
7. The Path of Least Resistance
8. Peruvian Mountain Fight
9. To Meet Eyes
10. Ideal Omens

 

 

Blues Foundation HoF Performers Named

 

 

All the blooze that’s
fit to play!

 

 

By Blurt Staff

 

 

A few weeks ago we brought you word about the Blues
Foundation’s announcement of this year’s Blues Hall of Fame inductees – among
them, Taj Mahal,
Irma Thomas, Son Seals, and Rev. Gary Davis. Now comes news about the
first
round of performers that will be at the 30th annual Blues Music Awards taking
part in a 6-hour blues marathon.

 

It all takes place May 7 in Memphis
at the Cook Convention Center, full details at http://www.blues.org. The legendary B.B.
King, incidentally, will present the award named in his honor, the B.B. King
Entertainer of the Year Award.

 

 

Here’s the roster of artists slated to perform thus far –
see ya in Memphis!

 

 

* Bettye LaVette – Detroit-born singer has performed at the Kennedy Center and at Obama’s inauguration and
counts a #1 Blues Album on the Billboard chart in her storied career.

 

 

* Taj Mahal – beloved 2009 Blues Hall of Fame inductee and
GRAMMY winner with a four-decade-plus career.

 

 

* Irma Thomas – newly minted Blues Hall of Famer and GRAMMY
winner is “The Soul Queen of New
Orleans.”

 

 

* Otis Taylor – the banjo-toting trance-blues man and
“one of the most innovative, thought-provoking blues artists to emerge in
the last 20 years.” (Billboard).

 

 

* Marcia Ball – piano player/singer counts #1 Blues Albums,
of whom Rolling Stone said, “Her
songs ring with emotional depth.”

 

 

* A Chicago Blues Jam with drummer Kenny Smith,
drummer/harmonica player Willie Big Eyes Smith (Muddy Waters), bassist Bob
Stroger (Otis Rush), guitarist Lurrie Bell (Carrie Bell, Buddy Guy), and
others.

 

 

* Gaye Adegbalola – acclaimed singer and member of Saffire:
The Uppity Blues Women, blues historian, and openly gay activist.

 

 

* Rory Block – slide guitar player/singer learned directly
from Son House and has been called “an inspiration” by Bonnie Raitt.

 

 

* Albert Castiglia – Miami-based and a former member of
Junior Well’s band.

 

 

* Janiva Magness – blues/soul songstress of whom No
Depression said, “She simply sings heartbreak, hunger and humor–sings ’em
with equally great chops and feeling–and lets that speak for itself.”

 

 

* Kenny Neal – son of Louisiana
harmonica great Raful Neal and “one of the brightest young stars on the
blues horizon, and a gifted artist” (Blues
Revue
).

 

 

* Maria Muldaur – has scored a platinum record and has
recorded with the likes of Ry Cooder and Stevie Wonder.

 

 

* Eden Brent – Mississippi piano player nicknamed
“Little Boogaloo,” performed at President Bush’s inauguration in
2005, and won the International Blues Competition in 2006.

 

 

* The Mannish Boys – this LA-based “electric blues
supergroup” (All Music Guide)

 

 

For a complete list of the 30th Blues Music Awards Nominees,
click

here: http://www.blues.org/bluesmusicawards/nominees.php4

 

 

 

Have Some Black Kids Over to Your House

 

No word on how much
admission you can get away with charging….

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

House parties are all the rage, especially the ones where
you don’t have to stand around looking at just your drunk friends – how about
those where you’ve got an actual, real live, nationally-prominent band playing?
Okay, so it’s mostly low-key singer-songwriters who do the house party circuit,
which may undercut the “party” nature somewhat, but hey, it beats spinning old 45s
all night, right?

 

Black Kids have decided t get into the spirit, sort of,
while they’re out on the road with the Mates of State (the tour kicks off this
week, full itinerary below). They’ve come up with a contest whereby you can
have them over merely by creating a video. Here are the details:

 

 

1) Create a video asking and explaining why the band should play your next
house party,
2) Take the video and upload it to YOUR myspace profile,
3) Enter the URL of the video on the contest entry form:

 

 

http://www.columbiarecords.com/contest/housepartietraumatic/index.html

 

According to their label, “The band will be picking their favorite
video, once the video is chosen we’ll notify the winner and then it’s up to you
to find the perfect location. Whether it’s your mother’s basement, your best
friends 1 – bedroom apartment or at brother-in-law’s house
– we are leaving it up to you to host the party and Black Kids will bring the
music.”

Well, all right then! For more information on the contest visit the band’s MySpace page:

 

 

http://www.myspace.com/blackkidsrock

 

Black Kids/Mates of State Tour
Dates:

 

4/02      Richmond, VA
              The
National
4/03      Philadelphia,
PA
           The Trocadero
   
4/04      Washington,
D.C.
         9:30 Club
4/05      Brooklyn, NY
                Music
Hall of Williamsburg
4/06      New York, NY
               Webster
Hall
4/07      Boston, MA
                  House
of Blues
4/09      Montreal, QC
                Cabaret
Musee Juste Pour Rire
4/10      Toronto, ON
                  Phoenix
Theatre
4/11      Chicago, IL
                   Metro
4/12      Minneapolis, MN
           Varsity
Theater
4/13      Kansas City, MO
          Beaumont Club
4/15      Denver, CO
                   Oriental
Theater
4/17      Seattle, WA                  Neumos
4/18      Vancouver, CAN
           Commodore
Ballroom
4/19      Portland, OR
                Wonder
Ballroom
4/20      San Francisco, CA
        The Independent
4/21      San Francisco, CA
        The Independent
4/23      Los Angeles, CA
           Henry Fonda
4/24      Pomona, CA
                 The
Glass House
4/25      Tempe, AZ
                   The
Clubhouse
4/27      Dallas, TX
                     Granada
Theater
4/28      Austin, TX
                    La
Zona Rosa
4/29      Houston, TX
                  Warehouse
Live
5/01      Atlanta, GA
                  The
Loft

 

 

In Short: March 2009

As always, the idea is that what unites us is more than music, an axiology that extends from the music to our music-lover lifestyles: how we vote, what we drive, what we eat, what we wear, etc. The point is, we’re a tribe connected by vibe… hence, this month’s compendium: 1. Nerdcore []

 

A Triple-A radio programming veteran, Kate has served as Music Director of the Loft at XM, Midday Host at WYEP, Evening Host at both WNCS and WUIN, as well as Content Supervisor for Pump Audio. Currently, she’s the CEO of Outlandos Music, a new-music discovery service for grown-ups. Kate has been nationally recognized for her ardent presentation of music and her ability to champion talented, compelling artists.

CHANNEL GUIDE Sat – Mon

 

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.

 

 

 

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

 

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 28:

 

2:30 Fuse: Rock Hall Inductees ’09

3:30 Fuse: The Metallica Chronicles

12:00 noon Sundance Channel: Live From Abbey Road: Sheryl Crow, Hard-Fi, Diana
Krall

11:30 NBC Saturday Night Live: Alec Baldwin, Jonas Brothers

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY, MARCH 29:

 

2:00 HDNet: Fabulous Thunderbirds

2:55 HDNet: Tragically Hip

6:30 HDNet: Rick Springfield

9:00 Fuse: The Metallica Chronicles

9:30 Fuse: The U2 Chronicles

9:25 HDNet: Heart – Alive in Seattle

11:00 HDNet: Shelby Lynn – The Making of Suit Yourself

12:25 HDNet: Indigo Girls – Live at the Roxy

 

 

 

 

MONDAY, MARCH 30:

 

10:30 Sundance: Heavy Metal Jr.: Scottish band Hatred

11:30 NBC David Letterman: Adele

11:35 CBS Jay Leno: Davin Degraw

12:00 ABC Jimmy Kimmel: The Dream

12:35 CBS Jimmy Fallon: Glasvegas

 

 

Play 6 Degrees of Pearl Jam & Win!

 

Actually, you won’t
win nothin’… But have fun! Hey, did you know that Neil Young has played with Pearl Jam on several occasions, such as when they
provided the backing band for his album Mirror Ball? You did? Well, now we do
too!

 

By Fred Mills

 

At BLURT we are all about good ol’ time wasters – no you
twats, we’re not talkin’ Twitter. We mean REAL time wasters. Such as the David
Lee Roth shout-outs generator, or the David Lee Roth asteroids video game. (We
think Diamond Dave is the ultimate waste of time….)

 

Not to be outdone, Pearl Jam has gotten into the time
mismanagement game. As one gimmicky way to promote the deluxe Legacy Edition of
Ten that just hit stores this week –
you can read our in-depth analysis of the album and its legacy next week – the
band has created a 6 Degrees of Pearl Jam online game and downloadable widget.
As the title might suggest, you plug in the name of a band or a musician and it
generates a description of how that artist is related professionally to Pearl Jam.

 

Some are obvious and intuitive – Neil Young, the Who, pretty
much any band from Seattle
from the early ‘90s you’d care to mention. Others, such as Coldplay (shudder!),
Kanye West, and Whitney Houston, (WTF?) have a more convoluted line that can be
traced to the jammers. The Whitney thing takes you to Dolly Parton to Elvis to
Roy Orbison to U2 to, bingo, Bono and Pearl Jam. Who’d a thunk it?

 

Oddly, a lot of artists you’d think might have a direct
connection do not. For example, there’s no connection between Guided By Voices
and Robert Pollard and Pearl Jam – you have to enter an “influence” of Pollard’s
in order to sniff out a connection, which in this case turned out to be The
Who, and… oops, we just wasted 5 more minutes of our valuable time. We’re outta
here.

 

Check out the game at the PJ site HERE.

 

Or simply start clicking the widgety thing below….