Monthly Archives: April 2009

CSS Ceases Touring, Performing

 

Brazilian dance/rock
outfit’s vocalist got “very stressed.”

 

By Fred Mills

 

This week in Britain’s NME,
CSS vocalist Lovefoxxx (real name: Luisa Hanae Matsushita) has disclosed in an
interview
that she’s retiring from touring temporarily, which means – if you’re
even remotely familiar with the Brazilian band’s dynamic, at times chaotic,
stage show – essentially means that CSS is up on blocks for the time being.

 

Apparently the group’s touring regimen wore Lovefoxxx down
until it was no longer any fun. “I’m not thinking about music at the
moment,” she told the magazine. “I don’t like making music now. Touring is
great but if you’re doing too much it sucks your soul. When I’m on tour I’m
very stressed, it got to the point where it was quite hard.”

 

CSS will work on a followup to last year’s acclaimed Donkey album, and plans are to resurface
in 2010 – but operating within new (or without, take your pick) parameters. “”When
we did Donkey we were thinking about
the live show, it was all we had in mind,” she outlined. “Next time
we’re going to do something crazy and very ‘dance’. I think it’s going to be
more experimental. We’ll just go crazy and not worry about how to do it live.”

 

[Photo Credit: Roberta Ridolfi; Lovefoxx is 2nd from
right]

 

 

Watch CSS – “Rat Is Dead (Rage”) video at BLURT.

 

 

 

My Morning Jacket – Still Moving by Sam Erickson

 

A Blurt world exclusive! Herein view a video montage announcing
photographer and filmmaker Sam Erickson’s upcoming exhibit of his My
Morning Jacket images. The six-week exhibition kicks off May 22 at
NYC’s Morrison Hotel Gallery (313 Bowery Street, location of the old
CBGB Gallery).

 

You already know Erickson’s iconic images, of
course: he’s been doucmenting the band since 2002. The exhibit will
include shots taken during the recording of MMJ’s It Still Moves, Z, Evil Urges and live album Okonokos.

Vid Exclusive: MM Jacket Photo Exhibit!

First-time view
of career-spanning images from famed photographer and band intimate Sam
Erickson will be displayed at NYC’s Morrison Hotel Gallery. We’ve got a video
preview, too.

 

By Nancy Dunham

 

A rare, insider’s look at the growth of My Morning Jacket – from
fledgling musicians to major musical icons – will debut May 22 at The Morrison
Hotel Gallery, located in the building that formerly housed CBGB, the legendary
landmark club for punk musicians including Blondie.

 

You can take in a visual sneak preview via a special video trailer,
“Still Moving,” that BLURT is currently hosting in our video kiosk. Just scroll
down to that section, or go straight in HERE.

 

 

The six-week, 21-image exhibition of work by photographer and filmmaker
Sam Erickson shows the growth of the band from 2002 to 2008. Photographs show
everything from live concert images to the band’s recording of its last three
studio albums including It Still Moves, Z and Evil Urges. Erickson’s long-term
project allowed him to record private images of the band, many of which have
never been viewed by the public.

 

 

“Sam is one of the new emerging talents in
the music visual media arena. I
was impressed with his technical and artistic ability as a photographer,” said
Peter Blachley of Morrison Hotel Gallery. “Combined that with Sam’s ability to
capture the very talented and critically acclaimed band, My Morning Jacket from
early on in their career to present. That appealed to me and I anticipate will
appeal to our audience.” 

 

 

The Morrison
Hotel Gallery is located at 313
Bowery St. in New York City. The show is free and the hours
will be as follow:

 

*12:00
– 7:00 Sunday to Wednesday

*12:00
– 9:00 Thursday to Saturday

 

For
more details, contact the Gallery by phone at 212-677-2253, or on the web at www.morrisonhotelgallery.com .

 

 

 

 

Joe Boyd Hosts Nick Drake Tribute Show

Also curating a
Fairport Convention reunion and a tribute to Incredible String Band.

 

By Fred Mills

 

Legendary producer, Witchseason Production/Hannibal Records
founder and author (‘60s memoir White
Bicycles
) Joe Boyd will be curating a series of concerts in England,
starting May 16. On that day at the Town Hall in Birmingham, Boyd hosts Way To Blue: The Music of Nick Drake. It’s the first of two planned
“Witchseason weekends.”

 

According to Boyd it will be “a bit more than a tribute
concert [and] will feature performances by Martha Wainwright, Graham Coxon,
Beth Orton, Robyn Hitchcock, Vashti Bunyan, Boris Grebenchikov and Harper
Simon. Kate St John is musical director and Robert Kirby will be on hand to
conduct both his original string parts from Nick’s recordings, but some newly
written arrangements as well. Legendary bassist Danny Thompson, who played on
many of Nick’s recordings will anchor the house band, along with pianist Zoe
Rahman, Neil MacColl and Leo Abrahams on guitars and Martyn Barker on drums.”

 

Boyd, of course, was Drake’s producer and has been instrumental
in helping keep the Drake fan fires burning all these years. He offered many
fond, funny recollections of the late singer/songwriter in White Bicycles, a book well-worth reading. (We interviewed him a
few years ago about the book – go HERE to see excerpts from the interview.)

 

Continues Boyd, “Those who attended the Nick Drake panel at
the Barbican 10 years ago will remember our special guest, Robin Frederick.
Robin not only busked with Nick during the summer of 1967 in Provence, but she
now teaches songwriting in California and can explain exaclty what makes Nick’s
music so brilliant. She will take part in the concert and take part with Joe
and Robert Kirby in a seminar after the concert. One of the songs performed
during the evening will be by Molly Drake, Nick’s mother and Robin will discuss
her effect on her son’s music.”

 

The following afternoon, May 17, Boyd will appear at the
Town Hall, telling tales from his book and accompanied by his pal Robyn
Hitchcock on guitar.

 

Then on July 18 at the Barbican in London comes an all-star reunion of the
surviving members of the early Fairport Convention incarnations. Boyd produced
the Fairports, and he promises that material from the first five albums will be
performed. That’s to be followed the next night, July 19, also at the Barbican,
for the second part of “Witchseason Weekend” will be a tribute to the
songs of the Incredible String Band.

 

Start booking those airline tickets, folks.

 

 

 

 

A Request from Neutral Milk Hotel

Pony up and cast those
votes to help out on this very worthy project…

 

By Blurt Staff

 

This just in from the good folks at Neutral Milk Hotel….

 

***

 

The Paragon Carousel is
a beautiful machine that has been my dear neighbor for many moons.
 Now 81 years old, it is in need of a little love and attention in order
for it to survive. 

 

 

It is my sincere wish for the Paragon Carousel to
be a part of the magic of long seaside summer afternoons for many years to
come.  But it might not get to. 

 

 

Unfortunately, we live in a world where the great
whirling contraptions of mechanical music and light are not as profitable to
operate as other things, and carousels are worth much more taken apart and sold
in pieces to museums, where one must pay to look at them behind glass,
rather than having them simply existing in the world that we now all
share.  

 

 

I spoke with Jeff and Scott and Jeremy about this and
they agreed that I should, on behalf of Neutral
Milk Hotel
, make an appeal to the good people who might have enjoyed
the music made over the years, because we think you’d understand especially,
and want to help. 

 

 

We humbly ask you to vote!

 

 

The Paragon Carousel is competing with 24 other historic
Massachussettes buildings for a grant of  $100,000. The historic site with
the most votes wins, and anyone anywhere can vote. We would love it if by our
collective effort we could ensure the continuation of this grand place.
 It only takes a moment and you can do so here

 

 

You
are allowed to vote once a day untill May 17th . Your vote means a
great deal to all of us at Elephant Six. Places like this are so special.
They deserve to exist in the same world that we do. So we can visit them with
our bodies, not just our memories and dreams.

 

 

We’d like to thank you for your help and for spreading
the word.

 

 

 ~Julian Koster with
Jeff Mangum on behalf of Neutral Milk Hotel

 

 

 

Exclusive: Wayne Coyne on Teeshirtgate

 

Coyne, bloodied by
unbowed: “Then, I double-checked and I was like ‘You’ve really gotta be kidding.'”

 

By Fred Mills

 

Coming tomorrow at BLURT: an exclusive interview with
Flaming Lips mainman Wayne Coyne in which he discusses the flap that ensued
this week around Lips song “Do You Realize?” being selected, then rejected,
then ultimately reinstated by Oklahoma governor Brad Henry as his state’s official
State Rock Song.

 

By now everyone has heard about what went down:  The Lips had been selected for the honor
following their topping an online vote last year sponsored by the Oklahoma History Center
and the Oklahoma Film and Music Office. But after the Oklahoma Senate voted
last month 46-0 on a resolution honoring the song, last Thursday the House
voted 48-39, thereby making it fall short by three votes – this in the wake of some
rather silly complaints by a few lawmakers concerning how the Lips’ Michael
Ivins had worn a hammer-and-sickle teeshirt to the House and the way Coyne used
so-called “foul language.”

 

Right. Nobody should use foul language. Like, what the fuck?

 

Then the governor, presumably sane and sober, stepped in and
declared he would sign an executive order naming “Do You Realize?” as the
Official State Rock Song (and nicely putting the Lips in the rarified company
of Woody Guthrie and Bob Wills, whose “Oklahoma Hills” and “Faded Love” are,
respectively, the official State Folk Song and State Country & Western
Song. Gov. Henry signed the order on Tuesday, April 28, at the Oklahoma History Center
near the capitol, in a ceremony
attended by about 300 people. (Ivins,
incidentally, wore a “Ghostbusters” teeshirt.)

 

 

 

 

One fun tidbit: in the middle of all this, a popular
Oklahoma-based liberal blog, The Lost Ogle, published photos taken back in early March of the Lips posing with Oklahoma
senators and representatives – including some who ultimately voted against them
in the House. Note that Ivins is wearing the hammer and sickle tee in the photo, but apparently nobody had any problems
with him at the time, when they were getting a free photo-op out of the deal; the assumption is that some hard-ass top Republican later
spotted it and decided to stir up some of the troops.

 

 

 

“Initially,” Coyne tells BLURT, “when I was told that they
wanted to take it away from us, I thought ‘Well, I can kind of see. We are
weirdos and there are a lot of conservative people in the legislature.’ But
when they said it was the T-shirt, I was like ‘You’ve gotta be kidding.’ Then,
I double-checked and I was like ‘You’ve really gotta be kidding.'”

 

But with the governor coming to the band’s defense,
everything is right in the world now, says Coyne. “The governor signed this
proclamation making it Flaming Lips Day as well, so at about 3:30 in the
afternoon, suddenly, the rest of the day was Flaming Lips Day, which was sort
of absurd. I’ve met the governor a couple other times so it wasn’t that weird
but it was a big deal. People were quite overjoyed, really, and I think the
opposition almost made the comeback that much grander.  Everybody really felt that they were fighting
for a much bigger cause, not just their love of the Flaming Lips but this idea
that hey, who are the State legislators to take this thing away from us.”

 

You can read the complete Coyne interview tomorrow at BLURT.

 

 

 

 

Iggy’s Misleading Insurance Ad Banned

 

No fun in
Osterbergland… will Iggy be “down on the street” looking for some new car
insurance now?

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

Remember that TV ad Iggy Pop filmed for the Swiftcover car insurance
company? Sure you do! The one where a shirtless Mr. Osterberg, in full gurning
mode, bemoans how important personal papers always seem to go missing (“I haven’t
seen my birth certificate in years,” he mutters – probably not such a bad
thing, if you think about it…), but how, thanks to Swiftcover, at least he’s
got “insurance on my insurance”? It was a pretty eye-catching ad, even by most
eye-catching ad standards. You can refresh yourself at this YouTube link (or
simply see it, along with his second ad for the company, below).

 

Well, although Iggy is apparently still working for
Swiftcover.com (his image is currently gracing the company’s homepage), it
appears that there has been some sleight-of-hand concerning the man’s actual
coverage. Awhile back it was reported that a number of UK musicians who’d applied for
coverage were advised by Swiftcover that the company deems anyone classified as
an “entertainer” to be ineligible for their insurance.

 

And today, NME.com is reporting that in the wake of a filing
by Britain’s
Advertising Standards Authority claiming that the ad is “deceptive,” the ad “must
never be broadcast again in its current form” – essentially, the Iggy ad has
been banned.

 

According to the ASA, “Because the policy was promoted
by a well-known musician, which might lead some viewers to believe the policy
covered those who worked in entertainment, when it did not, and because Iggy
Pop did not have a policy with Swiftcover, we concluded the ad was misleading.”

 

The advertising industry has long used celebrity pitchmen,
of course, not to mention attractive actors who portray regular folks in ads.
And as a culture, we’ve become accustomed to a degree of
suspension-of-disbelief when it comes to whether or not the person in the ad
actually uses the product in question (or, for that matter, actually believes
in the lines he or she is reciting). But the ASA does have a point about the ad
being misleading, and Iggy does state
that he is “Swiftcovered” in the ad. That’s a bit different from just gazing
into the camera and telling the world that the toothpaste you’re holding will
make consumers’ teeth brighter.

 

No comments yet from the Iggy camp, of course, and nothing
has been posted in the news section of the Swiftcover site either. However,
some clever YouTube “answer ads” to the original Swiftcover ad have been
posted, including the one below.

 

 

 



Comin’ Clean w/The Ghost is Dancing

 

Outta the tub and into the fire: Canadian
band is on tour now in preparation for July album release.

 

By Blurt Staff

 

BLURT has a new
favorite band, and the band is The Ghost is Dancing. The story thus far:

 

The Ghost is Dancing began as many bands begin, in a moldy
basement during university. Kevin
Corlis, Jim DeLuca, Jamie Matechuk and Odie Ouderkirk were returning
home via Toronto’s
Spadina Ave,
sweaty and exuberant after a Hidden
Cameras show at the Horseshoe Tavern when they decided that they wanted
to start a band. Jamie had spent the last year learning how to play Modest Mouse songs and Kevin was
always banging away at his collection of keyboards and drums at home, plus Jim
had been wanting his friends to play music with him since they first met in
kindergarten. Gabrielle Nadeau
lived upstairs and picked up an accordion, Eric Krumins eventually joined on
bass, and soon they were asking everyone they knew to join. Somewhere between
all their energies rested dozens and dozens of pop hooks and their first major
battle was to find a way to put it all together.

The first self-titled EP received critical acclaim and the band drew immediate
comparisons to The Arcade Fire, Broken
Social Scene and Modest Mouse. Soon after their EP release they signed
with Sonic Unyon Records and in
June 2007 released The Darkest Spark.Shortly
after their first national tour The Ghost is Dancing shrunk in size. The
economical rigors of touring, rehearsing and living with giant student debts
had taken their toll. Throughout these changes, however, song-writing had
continued and their musicianship had improved. Over the next year, TGID found
themselves invading late-night swimming pools in Kentucky,
barely avoiding head-on collisions in Quebec,
and taking off all of their clothes in the back of a record store in Charlottetown. They would
tour with new songs, new members, craft a tighter, more explosion live act and
finish writing their next record, literally titled Battles On with Chris
Stringer (Rush, Ohbijou, Timbre Timbre, The Coast).

Battles On, due from
Sonic Unyon on July 28, is described as “a record built out of desperation and
the exuberance of holding something special together. Laden with even bigger
pop-hooks than before, but with a go-for-broke attitude and mindfulness towards
the craft of songwriting, the record rarely lets up and delivers on the promise
of a band which has come into its own.”

 

Well, all right then! Mark yr calendars for July 28.
Meanwhile, the band kicks off a tour TONIGHT…

 

 

Tour Dates:

 

Apr 29 2009 Black Dog Edmonton, Alberta
May 1 2009 The Distrikt Regina, SK w/
Hot Hot Heat
May 3 2009 High Noon Saloon Madison, Wisconsin
May 4 2009 Vaudeville Mews Des Moines, Iowa
May 5 2009 Darkroom Chicago, Illinois
May 6 2009 Melody Inn Indianapolis, Indiana
May 7 2009 Rumba Cafe Columbus, Ohio
May 8 2009 Derby City Espresso Bar Louisville, Kentucky w/ Bedtime
May 9 2009 Al’s Bar Lexington, Kentucky w/ Bedtime
May 10 2009 Garfield Artworks Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania w/ Japandroids
May 11 2009 Wilbert’s Cleveland, Ohio
May 12 2009 Manhattan Room Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 13 2009 Millcreek Tavern Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 14 2009 Goodbye Blue Mondays Brooklyn, New York
May 15 2009 Fontana’s New York, New York
June 12 2009 The Gordon Best Theatre – Gordon Best Music Series Peterborough,
Ontario
June 13 2009 Zaphod Beeblebrox Ottawa, Ontario

 

 

New Vid: Rock, Roll & Wrestle!

 

The mighty Mike Edison
strikes again, this time with a knee drop…

 

By Fred Mills

 

 

Rock ‘n’ roll ‘n’ wrasslin’ has a long, storied (some say
chequered…) relationship, dating back to when NRBQ and Captain Lou Albano were
an item. BLURT buddy Mike Edison now revives the rock/ring tradition via this
extremely hi-tech (term used loosely…) video for Edison’s
band the Edison Rocke Train.

 

Note the guest ring announcer: Handsome Dick Manitoba, of
the Dictators. According to Edison, the vid
took “two continents and nine years to complete! First sessions in NYC circa
2000 — the video was shot at the Wrestling Baby Blast Fest in France 2007.”

 

The tune’s called “I Like To Hurt People” and it is indeed
truth in titling. Dig those pom-pom babes, too….

 

Incidentally, you can read up on Edison’s
fine book I Have Fun Everywhere I Go HERE.

 

 

 

I Don’t Wanna Grow Up

Ten-year Old Kids
with Mohawks

 

You know what’s cool about a 10-year-old kid sporting a
Mohawk?

 

Not a damn thing.

 

At the risk of coming off like a 30-something Andy Rooney,
I’m going to start off this blog with a rant and a final plea to save punk rock.
The argument I’m putting forward is certainly not new, but worth being made at
least one last time.

 

I was at an outdoor festival in Atlanta this weekend and
lost count of how many pre-teens I saw walking around with Mohawks and Ramones
shirts. When did punk become just another accessory for the Sponge Bob set?
Mohawks and anarchy symbols used to scare the crap out of parents, now they’re
just another cute look for little Dylan and Kara, by couples desperate to be
thought of as the cool parents (and don’t think I haven’t been there. I have
two little girls and my wife was the only voice of reason that kept me from
buying Sex Pistols onsies off of Ebay). And putting a Clash sticker on the back
of your minivan doesn’t make it any more cool to be seen in (again, I speak
from experience).

 

 Trust me; it’s
safe for old punks to age gracefully. Not all of us can tour the world in
shitty vans and make great music. Leave that to your heroes. Keep rocking the
boat in your chinos and changing the system from the inside, but don’t try and
turn your kids into a punk rock mannequin to prove how cool you still are. 

 

Which brings me to my second rant… as a freelancer punk
writer, I am about to throw my hands up in defeat. Born in the early 70’s and
coming of age in quite possibly the worst time in the history for music (hair
metal anyone?), I withstood the auditory assault of bands like Danger Danger
and Pretty Boy Floyd for years before finding salvation in the music of Bad
Religion, The Buzzcocks and The Clash. For the past two decades or so I’ve kept
up with the evolving music scene, watching punk move from basement shows and
VFW halls to arenas (not necessarily a bad thing). What once was a mail order
business is now neatly packaged and priced inside your local Hot Topics (again,
not the end of the world. Punk rockers deserve to make money too). You used to
discover new punk bands thanks to poorly dubbed tapes passed on from a friend;
Now you can hear “punk rock” on The Hills (ok, nothing good can come of that).  The most jarring change, however, is
what is currently being peddled as punk rock. I am certainly open to all genres
of music (I, for one, am lobbying for Willie Nelson be added to Mount Rushmore),
but I have a problem with the bait and switch tactics being perpetrated by
publicists and record labels lately.

If you make pop music, be proud of it and call yourself a
pop band. Punk rock was a reaction to crappy, bloated corporate rock of the
70’s (Styx, Journey, etc.). It railed against oppressive authority figures,
racism, sexism and homophobia. It was not 12 mediocre songs about high school
crushes on your self-titled debut, with liberal use of Auto-tune , currently
being peddled under the guise of “pop-punk”. It was about rebelling against the
status quo, wearing homemade clothes with hand-painted messages of defiance,
not wearing those tacky neon-logoed t-shirts and hoodies you picked up at the
mall and pair with matching Ray Bans.

 

That’s not to say there is not legitimate punk rock being
made right now. Anti-Flag is still fighting the good fight (with a new record
out soon) and the Teenage Bottlerockets might actually be The Ramones reincarnated.

 

Here’s the deal, if you play punk music, play it loud and
play it proud. If you play pop music, call it what it is, make a ton of money
and be happy.

 

I’ve admittedly strayed a bit from my general thesis, but
here’s a recap: Aging hipsters, you’re getting older, so deal with it. Don’t
try and turn your kid into Lil’ Johnny Rotten just because you’re getting
fatter and losing your hair. Blare NOFX as loud as you want in the minivan,
just keep the windows rolled up at the stop lights. And kids, don’t try and
pass yourself off as the next Joe Strummer when your punk rock influences go
back no further than Blink 182’s third CD.  You’re in a pop band, no matter what the guy in the fancy
suit tries to tell you. Rock on pop star!   

 

Music worth listening to this week:

 

Left Alone‘s self-titled
record (http://www.myspace.com/leftalonepunx)
and Ninja Gun’s “Restless Rubes”
(http://www.myspace.com/ninjagun)
.